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”
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Camera: Canon 7D Mark II
Lens: Canon 400mm f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/200 Sec
“Shooting a Koklass” in this blog, makes one realize, how absolutely imperative daily learning is.
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.?
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.
Keep learning, Keep growing!!!!?
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