Spray and Pray
Great Egret in flight over Panama’s Pacific Coast
What is it with some photographers? Just because a camera is capable of X number of frames per second does that mean it should always be fired at that rate? Here is what I’m really wondering about…
is waiting for and photographing the “decisive moment” a lost art? Too many questions? I have observed all too often, while photographing in a National Park or other public space with other wildlife photographers around that many really lay on the shutter release when there is action taking place. Now, from time to time, I have ripped off a few shots of say, bull elk in the throes of a rut battle. And sometimes that really does help get a sequence of behavior.
Surprised young bull moose [Alces alces], visiting lake to feed, encounters Sandhill Crane pair with colts; Floating Island Lake, Yellowstone NP., Wyoming
Here is where I perceive the difference. My style (which was honed during the dark ages of film…no high speed motors then) has been to take each image as a separate shot to build a comprehensive view. Do I always succeed? No. But then the machine gunners don’t either. What they do succeed in doing is making more work for themselves.
Young bull confronts Crane pair while colts remain hidden in the tall grass;
Think about it, most people who photograph wildlife or landscapes love being out there and really grudgingly spend the time needed in front of their computers, editing, color correcting, filing and etc. So why shoot a dozen or dozens of images of the same subject when a few carefully considered shots would do. Now this is not an across the board indictment of say sports photographers and possibly motor sports shooters, theirs is a different world. Although catching the perfect lay-up is timing, not firing at will. What I love best is someone out photographing large animals doing little or nothing (portrait time) and still blazing away. Really? Some time spent learning the behavior of your quarry will result in far more keepers than spray and pray ever will.
American White Pelican [Pelecanus erythrorhynchos] splash landing; Fishing Bridge, Pelican Creek, Yellowstone NP, WY
An American White Pelican touch down.