I always put my camera away in a certain manner, ready for shooting at a minutes notice. It’s always in the same mode, with the same lens, with an empty card and the same settings. More often than not this works well, I can grab the camera and fire off a shot in anger and know I’ll get a good shot. But what happens when that’s not what you need.
This morning I was giving my two dogs their breakfast and looked up into the Golden Cane Palms I have along the back fence and notice some birds in the branches having their breakfast as well. They seemed preoccupied so I went back inside to get the camera. As I said above I put my camera away the same way all the time and that set up would be all wrong for the shot.
I needed my 70-300, so I put that on the camera straight away, the camera is set to 200ISO so I reset that to 400ISO for an extra shutter speed. I knew I could get reasonably close so I dailed in f8 and zoomed to 300mm before I even opened the door to go back outside.
I usually start taking photos the moment I spot my target. Then move forward and take more before moving closer again. However there were four of these birds in the palms and they were too engaged in what they were doing to notice me and they were also making a racket so I knew they wouldn’t hear me.
I managed to get within 5-6 meters of my quarry and started shooting. It was 15 plus shots later before they even noticed that I was there and started moving further away to where I couldn’t get a clear shot. A minute later they all took off and were gone.
It pays to be ready for anything. I could have just watched the birds feed and been happy, tomorrow I’ll check again to see if they’re back. If they are I’ll be ready if not at least I know I have a photo that I’m reasonably happy with.