Archive for Sunday, December 19, 2004

Long lens required for wildlife photos

Behind the Lens

December 19, 2004


Among our staff, I'm probably known best for photographing wildlife. I've spent a lot of time driving country roads in the early mornings and evenings, searching for subjects to shoot.

The one certainty: It takes a long lens -- 300-500 mm -- to shoot critters because they shy away from people.

A bald eagle is shown flying near Bowersock Dam above the Kansas

A bald eagle is shown flying near Bowersock Dam above the Kansas River.

I get ideas from several sources. Sometimes a farmer tells me he saw a deer or flock of turkeys -- or even a bald eagle. As the weather gets cooler and the bald eagles come to the Kansas River near Bowersock Dam to fish in the only open water in the area, my job gets a little easier because the area where the eagles fish is limited.

When shooting birds in flight, remember to keep the sun at your back as much as possible. I usually shoot with a digital Nikon D1H or D2H. Use a rapid shutter speed -- 250th of a second or higher -- for stopping action, or a slow shutter speed to capture a little motion, such as an eagle plucking a fish out of water.

Since I use digital cameras, it's easier to know when I've got the picture I want. Photographing wildlife can take a lot of time, but occasionally you get lucky and something falls into your lap.

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