Daily Photo – On a Wire

As I was exploring Lake Erie's coastline in the summer of 2008 I came up  on a boat launch that was steaming with what had to be 500+ birds flying around. I was on one of my photo drives that I like to take when I have time and had all my photography gear with me. I stood at the entrance of the pier leading out to the Lake and snapped this shot with my 70-300 non IS Canon lens. It took me around 40-60minutes to get in a groove and figure out where these birds were landing. Do professional nature photographers like Moose Peterson have to wait minutes or hours or years to figure out the grooves of their subject? Is that one of the underlying prerequisites for being professional? I spent a total of 5 hours at this pier that day in the summer of 2008 and what I wouldn't give to do that every days. For this shot, it was a waiting game. I knew these birds were landing on that line of cable, and I knew they would stay there for a few seconds before taking off again for food or a quick bath in the lake. I locked in my focus on one specific section of the wire. I was using my gitzo tripod and remote trigger and stayed there for a considerable amount of time waiting for the shot. I'll be honest, the shot didn't come easy, especially at the time I was using a Canon XTi which has a slower fps shooting speed. I have a lot (really, a lot) of shots that are useless because I didn't time the landing right. Finally after a good chunk of the afternoon was gone, I snapped a shot right at the right time - where the bird is coming in for a landing, wings extending and seemingly looking at the camera. Worth every second of waiting that afternoon. I'd really like to know what professionals go through on a daily basis when shooting nature photography. I know from twitter that some will wait all day to shoot one location. What do the guys who spend days in one location go through? I'd be interested to know.

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