Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Coastal Photo Expedition: Part 3

After a relaxing afternoon on the beach, I began getting ready for an evening of shooting shorebirds - with my camera (just thought I'd clarify that)...

Although the day started out overcast it really cleared up in the afternoon, which promised some really beautiful light in the late afternoon as the sun began to set. Sure enough, around 6:00 p.m. the light started to get really good. I had been waiting for this, but then the question hit me. What exactly do I plan on doing here?

Many photographers will spend hours crawling on their bellies in order to get that "eye-level" perspective with the bird they are photographing (that's how I achieved the Laughing Gull photo in yesterday's post), but I found that every time I got out of my car the birds would spook and run away.

My solution was simple. I stayed in my car, rolled down the window and drove very slowly, staying about 20 feet from the waterline. The birds didn't seem to mind, plus they were now sandwiched between my car and the water, with the setting sun at my back - a perfect setup to get some killer shorebird shots.

Black-bellied Plover

I caught this little guy on his afternoon jog.

Knowing that I would probably shoot several hundred images before the evening was out, I set up my Macbook Pro in the passenger seat on a makeshift stand, and every time I filled up a card I would swap it out for a new one, and import the photos on the full card into Lightroom while I continued shooting.



Ruddy Turnstone

Finally, the sun went below the horizon and I didn't have any more light to work with. Just before leaving, I grabbed this shot of the setting sun over the dunes (HDR image by the way).

I think this evening was my favorite experience shooting wildlife to-date!

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