This is a throwback post. It was part of the first set of images I made after getting into birding. My first trip to Ranganthittu (gasp) and the wonder in my eyes after seeing pelicans and the glorious Painted Storks. Yes, you can see my inexperience and ignorance of this glorious world of birds. Until then the only birds I knew were the crows, sparrows, mynas and kites (I used to call them Eagles). The exotic of the species were the parrots and peacocks!
Moving on, I seem to have built up a beginner level awareness of the various species and can also identify a few by sound and have started to learn the various methods of identifying birds. The key being sharing the photograph with much more knowledgeable birders and taking their invaluable help to ID the bird for me. And google is yet to disappoint me even with my vague search terms involving obscure details like small black bird with yellow spots and so on.
With all the support and a yearning to see more birds, learning (on the field and off) about them, their seasons, habitats, behaviors and more importantly (for me at least) capturing them on my camera became a priority.
So it was on one of my first outings, I was super excited and had read a lot and watched a ton of YouTube videos on photographing birds, birds in flight, birds in flight against different backgrounds, benefits of shooting in manual vs any of the semi-automatic modes (Aperture/Shutter Priority) and heard arguments the other way around. After all the research, I had decided on the following – renting a Nikkor 200-500 to go with my D750, shooting in Manual and not in Auto ISO. To ensure I quickly make changes to changing backgrounds and compensate for exposure variances, I decided to stick to a specific Shutter Speed and vary my ISO to compensate for changes in environment.
After shooting the hell out of the birds from the shore, we decided to rent a boat all to ourselves (we have since then learnt better to take a shared ride instead). While we were turning a bend in the river, we passed a rock where there were a flock of Open-Bill Storks and while I was shooting them, a Great Egret took flight and I quickly lowered my ISO to compensate for the cloudy and bright sky and took one shot. I was on a rocking boat, hand holding the camera and I pulled out this shot. I quickly moved on to more exciting stuff - Painted Storks, Plovers, Terns, Muggers and forgot all about the Egret. Back on the shore, we caught a few flycatchers and it was evening before we decided to call it a day.
Back home, after dumping my card onto my laptop and going through the images, I chanced upon the shot of the Egret and the thought leapt in my head – I got a potato! (hit the link to know why I call it so). I started editing the image, Cropping it a little, pulling at the shadows, highlights, blacks, clarity and sharpness to pull everything possible to make the image you see above.
I don’t know about you, but this is one of my all-time favorites.