So many times I have been out photographing nature and upon deciding to go home for the day, for some reason have the thought “some of my shots are OK today… but not great – I’ll see what I can do to get that one, last, shot”. This thought has resulted in me getting quite a few pleasing pictures and so whenever I am out shooting these days, and preparing to go home, my mantra now is
“get that one, last SHOT”!
Some simple thoughts I try and hold dear and tell myself when I am in ‘last shot mode’. and about to go home..
- Nature IS GOING to surprise you – Be Prepared!
- If my camera is turned “OFF”, that’s OK… as long as I have no more batteries. Otherwise, it stays “ON”. As in ALWAYS ON!!!
- Leave my camera in “P” mode (not fully auto – NEVER fully auto). One wheel spin to the left or right and I have either a faster shutter speed or more depth of field… FAST!
- Get the ‘one last shot’ first in “P” mode and switch modes later for creativity if your subject’s still there… get “the shot”, first.
- The photograph you want is there… you just haven’t found it yet
- Your subject is there – LOOK harder!
- Was that a sound?.. go find where it came from
- Did something move or did I imagine it?.. it was real – go find what it was.
- When I put my camera in the car, make sure I can get to it… quickly… even if it’s a body with a 500mm lens!
- ALWAYS keep a bean bag in the car that you can get to, so your car doorframe can be your impromptu tripod that is ‘good to go’, for when your traditional tripod has been collapsed and packed away.
I hope these thoughts may help you get your ‘one last shot’ in future :).
Sometimes I’m walking with tripod and camera on my shoulder back to the car and get that last shot. Sometimes I’m driving from the place I have been shooting and my camera gear is in the car and accessible to get the “last shot” (until I get home, I leave the camera and lens ready to go, turned on and in a backpack than can accommodate it without having to detach things). Other times I’ll deliberately walk back to the car a different and longer way, and see if opportunities present themselves. They often do. Not always. But often. Here’s a few examples of shots I have taken in just the last few months when really focusing to get that one, last, shot shot…
Fresh from being dowsed in the rain, just like I had been.
To see them both was a thrill, if only briefly.
Not a place I expected to shoot birds. Or anything else for that matter.
But nonetheless this cutie put in an appearance. As my camera was in a backpack on the back seat of the car, still set up and ‘good to go’, I managed to capture this shot impromptu.
This Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker was less than 35 metres from my car.
So cute, and so unexpected.
Several times when leaving Lor Halus a ‘surprise opportunity’ has presented itself. On the way back to the private road that connects the dam to the main road, this Long Tailed Strike showed up with a beak full of nesting material.
Only the briefest of moments were available to shoot this but the bird obliged with a nice pose.
I always carry a bean bag in the car so that if I’m alone, and driving before or after shooting, I have a “hide and tripod” ready to go.
These Baya Weavers were shot this way, whilst driving out of Lor Halus. Here the mother is feeding her fledgling at the side of the road and at the edge of very tall grass.
I shot this Paddyfield Pipit handheld, at relatively close proximity.
A similar thing happened at Satay By The Bay. I was next to the car and my tripod was in the process of being collapsed, when two birds landed nearby on bare branches. A total surprise. Again a few quick handheld “last shots” captured these beauties before they flew off.
Sometimes a respite before going home presents the opportunity. I’d been sheltering away from seriously heavy rain in Pasir Ris, but had still got soaked en route to shelter. I just wanted to go home. It was windy, and in Singapore terms was cool… I was starting to feel cold. This little guy seemed to not care about the downpour. On this occasion I’d turned the camera off as everywhere was so wet. I quickly turned it back on and got this shot before he, and I, sought a drier environment.
It’s not lways the case that birds show up to give me the last shot. From my perspective, if a subject is not human and has a heart beat, then the likelihood is that it’s interesting enough to shoot…
This fella, in full breeding colours to attract a mate, was shot opposite Tampines EcoGreen in a small tree at the side of the road.
I was waiting for my ride home and had started dismantling my gear in preparation. Then a flash of orange caught my eye.
I enjoyed the vibrance of his colouration and hope he managed to seek out the mate he was in search of.
Nonetheless I saw this butterfly. It’s common here in Singapore, but pretty (at least I think so). So I took this shot ‘on the fly’ and noticed its’ eyes were looking at me when I had the image on a bigger screen.
So when nature is going to surprise you, and it will, be prepared.
Be prepared for that “one last shot”.
Happy Days 🙂