Monday, April 12, 2010

Gone fishin'

Great Moss Swamp Harrier

I had planned to find a good position on the course for the Rally of Otago this weekend and work on my action shooting, but the forecast was so good, I decided to go fishing instead. The Great Moss Swamp on the Old Dunstan road is one of my favourite haunts. Of course I took my new 7D and did some shooting too.

To me, fishing and photography are similar on so many levels. You have to learn to see in a new way; You need patience and a plan; The best gear does not guarantee sucess, but can give you an edge and sometimes, you need to throw away the plan and just seize opportunities.

Bus Terminal

The location is a great one to force me out of my portrait-orientation habits. I'd spent the best of the light making a bit of a study of the old abandoned bus. Easy to make good pictures when the sky is blue.

Terminal Bus, Colour

Long Term Parking

Oops. How'd that portrait orientation sneak in there?

Out the bus window

Things change fast in the high country. The afternoon light was flat and the Norwest wind was howling, but I've learned to relish that. There's nothing like a little adversity to force you to expand your skills. I was trying to capture the subtle sky and cloud tones against the geometry of some power pylons when a marsh harrier came close enough for a shot. Normally I would have missed this fleeting opportunity, I was working at a low ISO for least noise with my shutter at about f/10 for sharpness and depth of field. Not the best for a fast moving bird.

Luckily I was able to whack the 7D into the wildife preset I'd configured - Shutter priority at 1/400th, auto ISO and high speed continuous shooting. Bingo, I got something just useable. Not easy with these wary predators, especially on a 70-200mm lens. Couldn't have done it without that preset function on the 7D.

Great Moss Swamp Harrier

I got a fish too. Not a bad day at all.

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