Amidst a sea of black, there was white. From far off, white dotted the sea of black. On closer inspection, it bought immense delight & even surprise on the faces of onlookers. Some commented the new comers to be from Australia. The local vendor had a gala time weaving stories & charging premium for the yellow gathias. It was time of “Seagulls”. They hit the Mumbai coast a few weeks ago much to dismay of the pigeons who were ignored by locals.
The seagulls as per the chana vendor(bird food vendor) arrived everyday early morning around 7AM & sat around till the sunset. In evening, large number of people flocked around to catch a glimpse of these white birds & they left no stone unturned even in feeding them. From little kids to elderly, everyone was fascinated by these small white wonders. Clicking away on mobile or trying to take selfie as they feed them.
I made the most of this opportunity and returned with the following pictures. Armed with a Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS & Canon 60D, I ventured near the coast for a few days. Each day was a unique experience in itself. Ofcourse, I had the challenge to work around the slow autofocus of my lens. I had adequate reach but the lens slow focus meant I missed a lot of shots. That also meant I had to take ample shots to have the good ones. It was all about patience & finding the perfect angles. There were even moments where I was equally tempted to swap on my wide angle zoom lens as at times, the seagulls flew really close.
Photographing wildlife needs the photographer to approach the subject stealthily. One needs immense patience & good presence of mind to get good photographs of wildlife. Often the birds, animals don’t entertain humans & at times they may even get on defense & counter-attack. Happened to me once. I was in a balcony shooting a small bird perched on a nearby power line. To get closer, I went into the balcony, crouched & just held my hand up. As I fired a shot, another shot the bird got furious & decided to attack the camera however it missed. As I got up to go inside, it again flew furiously just across my face. A split second delay in my reaction would have got me injured near or on my eye. Thankfully I was safe. So the point of telling you this short tale is that one needs to approach the wildlife in a way that it is unaware of you. When you are successful in doing so, you will get good shots as the wildlife won’t be scared or put on a defensive mode.
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.