Mia and I often joke with each other that we’d make terrible landscape photographers because we’d be bored by all the waiting around for ideal conditions such as dramatic clouds and perfect light. We much prefer the excitement, unpredictability and the occasional and unexpected delights of bird photography. One of the clichés applied to landscape photographers is that they are always “chasing the light”.
But for the first two days of our recent Montana trip that’s exactly what we were doing. Conditions were largely cloudy and we would only occasionally get a fleeting break in the clouds. When we’d see some light off in the distance I’d often quickly drive toward it hoping for birds but that approach seldom worked.
At one point we referred to the beginning of this trip as our “Chasing the Light Tour” – like wannabe rock stars I guess…
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 800, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, natural light, not baited, set up or called in
But at least one time our strategy paid off and I was able to approach this Swainson’s Hawk on a post with a momentary spot of light on it and a mostly dark background. With the fluffed up feathers it looks like it was rousing but it actually held this pose for quite a while.
I used my tc for a few shots to get better detail but I don’t like my ISO to be as high as 800 and I was uncomfortable with the low shutter speed if the bird took off so I removed the tc…
1/1000, f/4.5, ISO 640, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, natural light, not baited, set up or called in
which allowed me to set my aperture at 4.5 and get some more shutter speed. The hawk took off mostly toward me and I liked the results despite the unnatural perch.
Thankfully we had great light for the last three days of the trip. Chasing the light may work for some but it’s just not my cup of tea…