Just Be There with…

Just be there….

…with Rainey Shuler

Wildlife photographers know all too well how hard it is to get a great photo of their subject.  It takes long hours of studying their behavior, and being familiar with their territory.

In this edition Rainey Shuler dedicated bird photographer tells us how her experience, persistence and patience paid off in this story of the Pied-billed Grebes.

Photograph by Rainey Shuler

Pied-billed Grebe Nest-2009

CR: Tell us about this location.

Rainey:  The location is at the Struve Slough in Watsonville, CA which has a lovely walking path for viewing many types of birds including nesting Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots.  You can also find Bitterns, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Osprey, Kingfishers, Double-crested Cormorants, Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons and many other birds there depending on the season.

We had spotted this Mama and 7 eggs around mid May, 2009.  It was close enough to the shore that I was able to sit on a chair with my camera mounted on a Tripod and chronicle the whole story.  I would go there almost every day around 5-6:00 p.m. in the afternoon.   I chronicled the entire family; first one chick, then two, until 5 eggs hatched.   As long as the last two eggs remained in the nest the parents would not give up on trying to incubate those remaining eggs…it wasn’t until June 20th that the last of the two eggs disappeared into the slough and at that time the entire family left the site, which was four days after I took this shot.

CR: How difficult was this to capture?

Rainey: The most difficulty in getting a shot like this is just having enough patience to wait and capture certain moments.  I spent approximately 2 hours just sitting and waiting for special moments to occur and during times like this I can end up shooting 200-500 shots to get just the right moment. Of course exposure can be difficult with these dark colored birds on a foggy day so the right ISO and shutter speed is very important.

CR:  How did you expose for this shot?

Rainey: I used a Canon Rebel XTi and a 100-400mm lens with a UV filter.  For this shot in the late afternoon I had to increase my ISO to 800 and set the shutter speed at 1000 to capture any action.  I chose an aperture of  f6.3. I used a tripod and natural light.

To see more of Rainey’s work visit her here.


Rainey on flickr