The Difference a Second Makes

Readers of this blog will know that I rather adore photography. I absolutely love it when a plan comes together and you get the shot you want. There are other times, however, where the frustration of the hobby can absolutely drive you insane!

Last evening was just one of those times. While walking through Briscoe Park last evening with my camera along, I spotted a Great Blue Heron (now that is a bit of a fib, he spotted me first and exploded out of the water brush he was hiding in. WOW did that startle me!).  As I have always wanted to capture a shot of the heron taking off, I started to walk towards where the bird had landed.

Waiting out a heron can be a long exercise in patience. But since I had no where to go, I was able to wait him out. One of the great things about wanting this particular photograph is that you wind up studying the bird on the internet and you learn that just prior to taking off, the bird will dip his head towards the water. This can also be a false alarm as they also do the same thing when they are ready to strike a fish! (which would be another cool photograph!)

So there I am standing, camera in hand, when I see the tell-tale signs.  Camera up and……

Heron Takeoff Blurred

Timestamp 19:30:43.34

Bang, I start to rip off a few shots. Excited that I had captured what I was hoping for, I could not wait to get home and see what I got. What’s wrong with the above shot? It is exactly what I was looking for, the explosion out of the water and into the evening sun…. What more could I want?  How about it being in focus?  You see, I  purchased a new lens (a sigma 50-150 os) that I am trying to get used to and the optical stabilization takes a few micro seconds to get in gear. What happened here is that I did not give it the time, as you will see in this next photo..

Heron Takeoff

Timestamp 19:30:43.57

23 milliseconds! Can you believe it?  Now there is nothing wrong with the above photo, but it is not near as compelling as the one above it… But 23 milliseconds!!! Come on, less than the blink of an eye and I miss the photo.

However, all is not lost, the very next image kind of makes up for it..

Heron Takeoff 3

Timestamp 19:30:43.71

14 millisecond later and we get a great photo fo the bird skimming the water with the sun under lighting the wings. Over all, less than 1/2 of a second and we get three very different images.

This is what makes photography so compelling to me. One click of the shutter freezes an instant of time forever.

Now, this heron and I will have a future date where I will start up the stabilization a little earlier in the cycle.  I am looking forward to it!


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