Being prepared for one but not the other

Being prepared for one but not the other
Being prepared for one but not the other

As the saying goes, “you can’t please everybody.” And that’s particularly true for this situation I was in one morning. I’ll explain how this happened, why this picture didn’t turn out, and what you can do in the future so that you can come home with shots that you are proud of.

Nikon D800, 1/25 sec., f/6.3, ISO 100, 70mm
Nikon D800, 1/25 sec., f/6.3, ISO 100, 70mm

Birds? What birds?

During one of my sunrise shoots, I had my camera all set up to shoot the glorious morning sun in a long exposure setup to blur the waters beneath. Perched on a tripod with my cable release, and 6-stop ND filter on, it was going to be a great moment. I could already see the image in my head.

But out of nowhere, a flock of birds in their “V” formation came flying out from the left side of my frame. There were so many of them it looked like a bird party up there! I knew I wasn’t set up properly for the shot since I had my neutral density filter on my lens, but I took it anyway to see how bad it would look with the birds all a blur.

It’s not the best of shots as it doesn’t convey the beauty of the birds. They are all blurry, but should be in focus as that’s what you want the focus of attention to be in this particular shot.

So what should you do?

In my mind, I’m thinking this would have made for a spectacular shot had I been ready to shoot for this particular condition. You can’t expect to have it all during your shoots so the best thing to do—short of having two camera setups—is to go to your location with a specific goal in mind.

One morning you can go solely for the sake of taking pictures of the birds against the skyline. And that’s all you do. You concentrate on this shot and any shots of birds that may look great in the morning light. Forget the sun rising above the horizon, forget that beautiful ball of light right above the buildings, forget any long exposures. You’re here for the birds! With that in mind, your camera will be set up to shoot in the right conditions and you won’t regret not having a great shot of those birds.

The sun will rise every morning so go back another time if you want to shoot the sunrise.

This not only allows you to get what you want, but it allows you to find the best settings to get the best looking shots. You can appreciate the moment that much more.

And really, there’s nothing more satisfying than looking through your photos you shot that day and finding that perfect moment captured.

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