The Great Journey in Photography

Repeat Performance

Brown Pelican at La Jolla Cove

420mm f9 200iso 1/1000sec

There are trips that are once in a lifetime, there are places you go to all the time and then there are places that you can go to on a regular basis but it takes a real effort. A trip that takes time, money, and planning, but you can always do it once or twice a year. In bird photography it is really important to make those trips on a regular basis. The more you visit the more you will be rewarded.

Last week I made my third trip to La Jolla Cove near San Diego CA. It is a couple of hours from home and to make it worthwhile you need to be there before dawn. Even though it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and I throughly enjoy every moment I spend there, the journey is not something that I look forward to. It generally makes for one very long day. Even though it was only my third time there the pattern has been set and I will be making the trek down there for many years to come. On that day my goal was to get just one Arthur Morris style pelican shot with the proper angle and sun direction. I had come close last time but not quite good enough. That is the picture above. Last year I made my first trip to Bosque Del Apache, I made about seven thousand images in four days and today the list of pictures I want to make there is longer then it was a year ago. I can’t wait to go back. The important thing to understand is that the pictures you take will get better with each visit. I suppose there is a point of diminishing returns but most places I go to on a regular basis have so many different hiding places and angles to shoot from that I have never felt that I have covered the entire location. In most cases I have only scratched the surface.

Let this be your template for repeat performances. First time out, shoot a lot, wander around and when you get back home carefully look at your images. See what is good and bad about them. Compare them to photos others have shot at that same place then make a list. List the shots you want, the birds you want to see and the places you want to shoot from. Then go back and try to get just one or two of them. Focus on just one bird, just one angle, just one location and then repeat as needed. When you get that shot move on to the next one on your list. The birds and weather have a big say in wether or not you get that shot and that is where returning on a regular basis becomes so valuable. So shoot early and shoot often.

Thanks so much for reading the blog. I hope you enjoyed the picture and advice. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you have any questions or you just like the blog.

You can see my new gallery up at my website


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