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Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Masterclass Q&a -

Usu­ally, con­cen­tra­tions of wildlife, such as bird colonies, are well known in ur­ban ar­eas. Ask lo­cals for any good spots where you can see them.

1 Pick the right spot

In this case, the po­si­tion of the bird colony was fixed, as was the back­drop, so the only way to bring them into line was to change my po­si­tion. Scout the area be­fore­hand to find the best spot for when you’re ready to take your shot and it will save you valu­able time once the light is good and con­di­tions are right.

2 Pick your mo­ment

For a shot like this, I made sure to time my visit for breed­ing sea­son, so that the nests would be oc­cu­pied. With birds, this can vary de­pend­ing on re­gion and species, but most lo­cal field guides can give you this in­for­ma­tion. Dur­ing this pe­riod, the birds will stay re­li­ably in the same spot, giv­ing you more time to plan and ex­e­cute your pho­to­graph.

3 Get creative

I wanted the birds in front of the build­ing. But in the up­per-left cor­ner there was only blue sky – too much empty space. To fill the gap, I needed a stork to fly into this spot, but it had to be di­rectly above the colony to be in fo­cus. I was pre­pared to be pa­tient and had brought a tri­pod, and took many im­ages be­fore one stork fi­nally obliged.

4 Know the con­di­tions

In­dia usu­ally has sta­ble, pre­dictable weather pat­terns in win­ter, when this im­age was taken. I waited for a blue sky, not a cloudy one, as this al­lows for a nicer com­po­si­tion and is eas­ier to ex­pose. I also waited un­til mid-morn­ing, as this brings ris­ing tem­per­a­tures and is the time that the storks will start to ride the ther­mals, thus cre­at­ing more move­ment in the shot.

5 Get some dis­tance

This shot was taken with a 400mm lens. A longer fo­cal length al­lows you to keep some dis­tance from your sub­ject, so that you don’t dis­turb them. Also, it helps to get a lower an­gle, mean­ing that you can cre­ate the im­pres­sion of the sub­ject and the back­ground be­ing very close to each other, even though they were some dis­tance apart in this case.

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