Stephen Kirkpatrick

Monday, December 19, 2011

Patience Please

Yesterday was a banner day for a sunset. The sky kept "building," producing dramatic, well-lit clouds. The only real difficulty for me was predicting the moment of peak light since I had only one exposure to put On A Roll. Now the harder part begins - waiting to find out if I actually captured that peak moment or not.

Quote me when I say this: This new roll is going to be The One. Yes, I am going out on a limb with this statement, but it’s time to move on to the second roll of the 
On A Roll trifecta. Even if this roll takes the next six months, I am going to shoot only those things that truly move me and try not to force it. 

However, as you can tell from reading below, this round did not start smoothly.  

Last Wednesday was the original kick-off for this roll. I had set up near a deer crossing in a field where there’s typically a lot of activity, thinking that a nice buck would be a good opening shot. After about 30 minutes, a doe walked out and urinated right at the spot where I was hoping to get a shot. (For those of you who are not familiar with deer mating rituals, this may not sound very appealing, but it was perfect for my purposes as the scent is very attractive to the bucks.)

Moments later another doe appeared, then another. When one of them looked in my direction and snorted, all of them ran away. It was getting late and the light was fading, but I waited a few moments, constantly checking my shutter speed in the deepening dusk. It appeared the wait might be worth it when a spike appeared. As I had hoped, he went straight to the place where the doe had left her mark. Another spike walked out behind him and did the same thing. Again, one looked my way and snorted, and the spikes were off.

I was preparing to head out myself when an nice eight-point buck walked out and headed for the spot then stopped to smell. When he lifted his head, 
click. I got it.

But from the moment I pushed the shutter release, I worried about the shot not turning out well because of the shutter speed being too slow, causing the image to be blurry from lens movement. It was, after all, the very first shot of what would  be a long, challenging photo assignment. Yesterday, when I saw the evening clouds building, I decided to pull the roll and start over. It turned out to be a good idea. While loading the new roll, I noticed I had adjusted the exposure compensation to give another stop of light. I had done this on one of my last shots in California a couple of weeks ago and had forgotten to go back and reset it. The deer would not only have been blurry, but it would have also been overexposed. This was all caused by two weeks of trying to get an opening shot for On A Roll for which I had become very impatient, NOT a good trait for a wildlife/nature photographer, especially shooting film.




1)  White-tailed Deer Buck - (H)
Madison County, MS
December 14, 2011 - 4:55 pm
Partly Cloudy, 66 degrees
500mm, 1/6@f4, Tripod

(original entry before I started over)




Now, I have a beautiful sunset as the opening shot for On A Roll. Wish me luck with the other 35. 

Sunset Panorama





1)  Dramatic Sunset over Small Lake - (H)
Madison County, MS
December 18, 2011 - 5:03 pm
Partly Cloudy, 57 degrees
17-35mm, 1/10@f8, Split ND Filter, Tripod


(photo taken with Nikon P7000)




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