Blog 11 of “Nature Photography- Tips and Techniques” series.

Today’s blog is titled “Shooting the Koklass”

Please do check out the previous blog in the series titled “Composing a Landscape”

Note: This blog contains affiliate links to Amazon, India

Camera settings

Camera: Canon 7D Mark II

Lens: Canon 400mm f/5.6

Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/200 Sec

ISO: 3200

Aperture Priority

Evaluative Metering

“Shooting a Koklass” in this blog, makes one realize, how absolutely imperative daily learning is.

Shooting a Koklass

Straight out of the Camera

I visited an isolated village in Kedarnath WLS recently.  After shooting all day and enjoying a beautiful sunset, I was waiting for this Koklass Pheasant to show up. I had seen it the earlier evening and was very hopeful of seeing it again. Except today, this guy showed up late, and I mean really late. I saw him perched, very silently in some dense bushes, less than 15 feet from me. It was already dark, and my camera,when properly exposed for the bird, was giving  a shutter speed of some 1/60 Sec at ISO 3200. I kept on firing, in hopes that one of them will be sharp. Well, all of them were blurry, so I gave up hope and silently began to admire this elusive beauty in front of me. It stayed there for another 5 minutes (remember it’s still getting dark), then very slowly started coming to this exposed rock, and I began cursing myself and the light for screwing up the shot? . Another 5 minutes and the guy is still there.

Suddenly I had a flash (daily learning always helps?), a day before coming to this place I had watched a Video of Arthur Morris. For people who don’t know who Arthur is, he is a highly accomplished American Wildlife Photographer with more than 30 years of experience in the wild.

In his video he had shared an Image which was shot in almost dark conditions (same as mine), and there he had underexposed the shot to get the required shutter speed.

Suddenly everything fell in place, the bird came and perched on this exposed rock, the background was mountains, far, far away and I had this amazing flashback.?

Shooting a Koklass

The final shot after post processing

So seeing the conditions, I underexposed my shot by 2 stops, bumped up my ISO to 3200 and got a shutter speed of 1/250 Sec. On a tripod and for this not so fast bird, the shutter speed was perfect. I then went bizarre (fearing not to lose this opportunity), shooting continuously for the next 5 minutes, till the bird slowly vanished into the jungles beyond.

Later in Post (I love RAW files?), I was able to recover all the details and reduce noise to almost zero levels for what I personally consider to be an amazing, amazing image.

I am pretty sure, if I had not watched that video a day earlier,  I would not have had this idea and would have missed a once in a life time shot.

I would strongly recommend to everyone reading this blog, to be a relentless student of whatever that is you shoot. Study anything and everything (from reliable sources?) that you can about your art, study different perspectives, study how other photographers think, study how they work and I am sure you will learn something every single day. The internet is full of blogs, videos, documentaries and podcasts about photography.

Till then…..


Keep learning, Keep growing!!!!?


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Soumendra Mukhopadhyay Reply January 22, 2017

It was visual pleasure to see your work ..

praveen January 22, 2017

Thank you so much man

NPTAT (Blog 12)- Golden light equals Magic | Creative Praveen Reply February 1, 2017

[…] Please do check out the previous blog in the series titled “Shooting a Koklass” […]

Abir Chatterjee Reply February 15, 2017

Hi Praveen, thanks for the excellent tip. I also have 7d mk2 and facing some problems with some of the settings to work in certain conditions. Can I call you to discuss the problem and take your suggestions? I also want to join one of your birding trips. -Abir

praveen March 1, 2017

Hey i am sorry, i was traveling non stop for some days now, please send me a mail on . I will check and revert. Thanks for your understanding.

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