Wildlife genre has been always difficult for someone like me who has a point & shoot(P&S) camera having a limited zoom range. Even though my Canon SX100 IS has 10x optical zoom, it still fells way short when it comes to photographing wildlife. Again the slow contrast detect focus system on my P&S camera is not the best when it comes to locking focus on birds in flight or even on one that are perched on branches of tree surrounded by other branches as obstructions. To aggravate the difficulties further, my camera has even developed a problem wherein the camera refocuses when you depress the shutter from half press to full press position(Out of 5 times this happens four times). I’ve tried hard to shoot wildlife before & even have succeeded in capturing them but still I was not overtly satisfied with the results. Yesterday, I had a visitor in my backyard. It was a crow but it was not the normal specie which we see in abundance. The crow was unusually big & almost entirely black. I ran around my home & quickly grabbed the camera and returned near our window facing at backyard.
I had to be cautious as birds fly away if they sense danger. In past numerous occasions, I’ve experiences where I tried to get close to the bird & have left without a shot due to bird flying away or perching deep & up withing branches. I started from almost 4-5 feet inside my window. I took a shot.
The background was boring & was distracting the focus so slowly I came a forward near the window. Now I was almost 3-4 feet away from the window. This was the closest I could get as we’ve a water storage drum near the window. I was in a semi-crouching position & resting myself on the drum like a sniper I took some shots. Now I had a better background than the first few shots but still I was not satisfied. The bird(crow) was sans any expression/action which I felt was necessary to lift the shot further. Even the lighting was ordinary.
I waited for some more time & this time the crow gave his patent cry to other crows flying above him. I took the shot. Now the background was good, there was action in the shot & also pain in my back. Still I felt I could improve the picture further.
Suddenly it dawned on me, the window bars which earlier I was trying to avoid would be good if used as a frame for the shot. Once again, I crouched back to my original position & waited for the shot in which the crow would again exercise his vocal cords. This time, he felt silent. I was getting uncomfortable now as my back pain was increasing & the camera batteries too were decreasing. After-all keeping the shutter depressed half way with focus locked for extended times is not an easy task. With the tiredness, my hands too were not steady enough. I went in my living room & came back with my tripod. I didn’t bought it to place camera on it but to brace my arm on it. It provided a good support. The reason to do this was to act quickly as I though the crow would fly away. After some time, I got the shot I wanted.
I was extremely happy that my hard work paid off. Yes, I did feel I was lucky as the crow didn’t fly away too soon & that’s what made the shot possible. From next time onwards, I need to think & act more quickly. Off-course there must definitely be scope for more improvements but for now I’m quite satisfied with the results. Before this encounter, I had heard of wildlife photography being the ultimate test of one patience. It proved so true today. Till now, I didn’t concentrated much on wildlife genre but now I feel I should improve my skills at wildlife photography.