Yesterday was the first time I have ever really attempted wildlife photography. A friend of mine, Thayne Shaffer, and I headed out to the Bear River Bird Refuge west of Brigham City, Utah to see what we could find. Thayne was hoping to spot some fox but I just wanted to get out and see how an amazing wildlife photographer does it. I took my kids, who thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and got out for a much-needed and too-long-in-coming photography trip.
As you can see, it was a beautiful morning with abnormally warm temperatures. After driving along the dikes in the refuge for some time and arriving back into the main portion of the refuge, we came across hundreds and hundreds of pelicans. Never at any other time have I see so many pelicans. They are large birds by themselves, but seeing hundreds of them just added to the spectacle.
Thayne let me use his Canon 300mm f/4.0 IS L lens while he used his incredible 500mm. I can only imagine the photos he got, not only because of his excellent lens, but he is quite the pro at wildlife photography and I, as a newbie, made plenty of mistakes – mostly blurry birds. I should have decreased the size of the aperture and increased the ISO. I had a tough time getting that f/4 locked into the right spot on the birds. I tip my hat to all the wildlife photographers taking tack sharp shots. It is definitely not easy.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that my kids caught their first snakes while we were out there. That was the first real photo trip where I have taken my kids along (the others have been mostly family trips with photography as an afterthought but this one was primarily a photography trip). It was awesome to take them along, watch them enjoy the adventure, and to teach them about photography. Despite getting up at 5:45 AM, I think I have some new companions for future trips.