“Wide-angle Wildlife Photography”
A monthly blog series about one of my most favorite image every month. This is post 3 of a 12 part series.
Making wide-angle shots of wildlife is a challenge that has intrigued me from the time one of my friends introduced it to me. Frankly I never knew of such a concept, and the first wide angle shots I saw, completely blew my mind away. I was like, this is my future, this is what I am supposed to do and this is where i am going to tear the world apart. How Naive i was😁😁
So I started trying, and guess what, I failed, I failed miserably. Every attempt to make a wide-angle shot was like finding a needle in not one, but multiple haystacks. I learned from experience, that the odds of a subject showing up in front of the camera are as remote as man going to Mars (well almost😋). So I stopped trying. Also I broke my remote-trigger, and for more than a year totally forgot about what I had intended to accomplish.
That was until, I met my friend again and he reminded (literally forced) me to try again. So I got a new trigger and started again.
Now to put things in perspective, I have been trying to shoot wide-angle for almost a year now and the number of shots that I have probably come up with, are less than 5!!. Don’t forget that I shoot at every opportunity I get (I stay here all the time😊). Even if I know a particular area well, there are a thousand spots in that particular patch where the subject may show up on any given day.
Fortunately for me, there are some places where I can be reasonably sure of a particular subject showing up. This temple is one such place where Yellow-throated martins come to feed. Also, very few people know about this temple (except the locals) and this temple is always, almost empty. I have been to this temple like at least 15 to 20 times, stayed for weeks in total, and it was on my last visit that I was able to finally make this shot.In many of my previous trips, I had seen martins come to this rock, tried to capture them and failed every single time.
The best thing about this rock , it’s an excellent vantage point for the mountain ridges that are far off in the background. Additionally, since the rock is facing east, the mountains to the back, glow with beautiful golden light and various hues of pinks and reds in the evening. In the morning, the dynamic range is too huge for my camera to capture enough details in the subject and still retain highlights.
For two days in a row (that is four sessions), I would reach the temple, well before sunrise or sunset. Position my camera at this spot, hide behind some rocks and patiently wait (and pray) for them to show up.
Speaking about the technicalities of the Image. I was shooting in the evening and was not sure of when they would show up, so i bumped up my ISO to 2000 to have a decent shutter speed. Also i wanted to have as shallow depth of field as possible, so i set my camera to aperture priority and opened my lens to the widest aperture possible. Probably the most important thing I did (and everyone should do), to get this shot was to shoot in continuous silent mode and wait for them to relax in front of the camera. From experience, I have seen wildlife (both birds and mammals) avoid the camera totally on hearing the shutter going on at high speed. I was lucky, I repeat extremely lucky that these guys showed up the first evening itself and I got this shot. Of-course the shot I wanted was of them sitting atop that rock, looking directly into my camera (well if things happened as I wished😁😅😅). I sat for the next two sessions too, but they never turned up.
In summary, making wide-angle wildlife shots is one of the most difficult thing that i have attempted in photography yet. It requires more than anything, inhuman amount of patience and a little subject and place knowledge. This is by no means a good shot and god willing, and with some luck, i will probably come up with a shot some day that will make my heart dance in ecstasy.
Hope you like the image and story. If you do, please do share.