Anatomy of a murder, almost
One of the blogs I follow regularly is Galen Leeds Photography, and he runs a series of posts entitled “Anatomy of a photo” where he explains where and how he got the shot that he did. I like that idea, I was doing something similar in some of my posts like “Stalking the stalker“, so this post is a take off on those, and also a take off on the book and movie “Anatomy of a Murder”. The book was written by John Voelker who was a Upper Peninsula lawyer, judge, fly fisherman, and author under the pen name Robert Traver. He wrote several books on fly fishing under his real name, but didn’t think it was appropriate for a sitting judge to also be a crime novelist. The movie was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Jimmie Stewart, and is a terrific movie. I didn’t murder any one, but I had the urge to kill my camera, which I’ll explain in a few.
I did my daily hike as usual, taking a few fall foliage photos as I walked along, until I got to one of my favorite ponds around here.
As you can see, it is a beautiful day here in lower Michigan, and I was hoping for some good action shots of birds. I had taken a few photos of geese landing in the pond yesterday, but it was a horrible day for photography, dark, cloudy, with spits of rain.
With the blue sky and lots of sunlight, when a flock of geese approached, I was ready.
I was hoping they would land in the pond where I was standing, but no such luck, they veered off to land in one of the other ponds around here.
I was a bit bummed about that, but then I noticed a dark form in the tall weeds surround the pond, way over on the other side of it.
OK, I’ll work my way around the pond and see what that form in the weeds is. I took a few other photos on the way over there, like these.
And this one.
I stuck my head over the hill to see if I could identify the form in the weeds, it was a great blue heron.
I ducked back behind the hill to remain hidden, and worked my way around the heron so that the sun was behind me, hoping for a great shot. I have many close ups of herons sitting still, I was after an action shot, the heron in flight. I walked over the hill, and everything was going according to plan. I was close to the heron, the sun was right, the heron lept into the air, and I snapped this photo.
By the way, they may look ungainly, but herons can really jump! This one cleared the weeds when it jumped, I guess they have to in order to get enough altitude for those long wings to have room to flap. And that’s when I wanted to kill my camera!
It was perfect, the heron had dropped down a little as it began the first downstroke of its wings. I was slightly above the heron so the sunlight was shining off its wings, body and head, lighting the heron perfectly. I was all set to shoot again, and was timing the herons wings, and just as its wingtips touched the water on the first downstroke, I pressed the shutter, and the camera decided it was time to run through the full range of the auto focus a couple of times before it would fire again. I was ticked off big time! I had the perfect shot of a great blue heron in the viewfinder, and once again my Nikon failed me. I suppose I should have known better and been using manual focus for those shots. You don’t have a lot of time in that situation though, split seconds make all the difference, and I was hoping for the best, and didn’t get it.
It seems with the onset of cooler weather that the auto focus of the Nikon is not working as well as it did late in summer.
Anyway, by the time the camera finished fooling around, this was the second shot I got.
Good, but hardly like I would have gotten if the camera had done what it was supposed to when it was supposed to. At the time, I wanted to pitch the thing in the pond, but I calmed down and chalked it up as a lesson learned, next time the camera will be set to manual focus.
Thanks for stopping by!