I've always wondered how photographers were able to capture pictures of wildlife in action. I've never been in the right place at the right time to capture this type of image. I have now learned that capturing these types of image takes the ability to observe, plan, and have patience. All with a little luck.
A Little Luck
My shot was taken while I was at a picnic at a local park. My luck comes into play because our group rented a pavilion that happened to be on a lake with many ibis scavenging for food. The lake was positioned where the setting sun would be to my back and all I had to do was watch the feeding and flying pattern of the birds during the day.
Observe and Plan
During the picnic I had my camera taking pictures of friends always checking the lighting. I observed that the ibis were very comfortable with people. The ibis stayed very close to the pavilion and loved to eat bread that was being thrown to them by little children. All small children follow the same pattern, feed the birds and then chase the birds. Every time the children would feed the birds, one or two would dart towards the birds which would cause the birds to fly a pattern over the lake. Within ten minutes the birds would return and the whole process would start again. All I had to now is wait for the lighting to be in the right position and start shooting.
The day was filled with talking to friends, cooking, eating, playing horseshoes, fishing, and waiting for the sun to be in the right position. At about four o'clock in the afternoon the lighting was soft and I had my camera setup and a friend had bread for feeding. I set my position parallel to where the birds would be feeding on the bank of lake. My friend dropped the bread and just as the birds had patterned earlier in the day, they all began to feed. On my count, my friend ran into the birds and they flew the same pattern they had earlier. I had my focus set on infinity and began shooting in high speed continuous mode. After the birds cleared I waited about ten minutes and the birds returned for more bread. I repeated this pattern until I was able to get the image I needed. It took about five feedings of the birds and approximately thirty exposures.
This was a great experience that I just happened to "luck" into and hope to have more of these opportunities.
Enjoy and remember,
"Moments in time are lived once. Images of those moments live forever."