Action Can Really Be Boring!

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That’s right, boring!  You can literally spend hours of waiting for a quick 5 minutes of pure action.  Patience is a virtue in nature photography.

On a typical eagle outing on the Mississippi River, it’s not uncommon to stand for 2 hours or more with literally no action except for the occasional eagle coming and going.  Then, seemingly out of no where, a silent command must go out to all eagles – it’s time to fish!!  For the next 5 to 10 minutes you’ll have all sorts of action everywhere, you won’t know where to swing your camera next.  This is the way it goes for me with most nature photography.

There are really two main things to keep in mind:

    • Do Your Homework. All the patience in the world won’t do you any good if you’re not in the right place.  Here are a few homework tips:
      • In the post Always Look Close To Home, I discuss how to find great opportunities right in your own area.
      • Investigate sun rise and sun set times in your area – also the exact position on the horizon the sun sets for that particular time of year.
      • Scout the areas for the animal activity you’re looking for.  If in a local, state or national park – the rangers or workers are invaluable information sources on what’s going on, strike up a conversation!
      • Spend time in the area.  Get out an take a walk, see a sunset or just hang out.  The more you are familiar with an area, the more you will notice.
    • Be Patient.Your research and scouting done, now you’re on site – waiting for the perfect picture.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:
      • It depends on what and where you’re shooting, but you’ll generally need to keep still.  (Duh!)  Unless you’re really good, the birds and animals will know you’re there – but will tend to ignore you or become used to your presence (to a point).  Hopping around, popping the top on a soda can or anything similar will greatly reduce your chances.
      • It will be common to have an entire trip that doesn’t yield any results – this is standard fare and where the patience really comes in.  If you’ve done your homework and know you’re in a good spot, then give it time.  The critters don’t always run on a perfect schedule.

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It’s also useful to keep in mind that you’re out in the field, probably in a beautiful place, enjoying the country-side.  Enjoy that for what it is, some of the best trips I’ve had resulted in not a single image – but a very peaceful and relaxing outing filled with fresh air!

See the light,



1 comment so far

  1. Kat on

    I just found your blog today, and I’m so glad I did. Such great advice and your images are beautiful! I am not a patient person, but photography has made me slow down and enjoy the process as much as getting the shot. I still have a long way to go though!

    Kat 🙂

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