Go vertical!

I've been in Barcelona for a week (job related unfortunately, so no time for photos) and on my way back home I stopped for a couple of days in Provence, southern France. Among other things, I improved a personal record: I was able to get really close to some flamingos. These guys near the pretty village of Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer weren't worried at all about my car — probably because they were concentrated on feeding.

Nikon D70 + Nikkor 300mm ƒ/4D ED-IF AF-S @ 600 mm, 1/640 sec @ ƒ/11, -0.33 EV, ISO 640, beanbag from the car.

Flamants roses.

As you can see, with my Nikon D70 + AF-S Nikkor 300 f/4D IF/ED + TC20EII I took them full frame. I took almost two hundred shots before the usual stupid tourist parked behind me and got off his car, scaring them, just to take a photo with a point and shoot camera, which is supposed to have delivered just a handful of pink pixels...

I started as my usual with an horizontal composition to have a tight framing. After some time, I said to myself: I'm happy to get them feeding, but it would be nice if they stood up for some time. But if they raise their necks I won't have enough room in my framing. What could I do? I could unmount the 2x teleconverter for the 1.4x, but what about if I miss some opportunity while changing the lens?

All of a sudden I recalled Bob Johnson, one of the most talented photographers in the Nikonians community. He's got a very interesting website where he periodically publishes some tips. In one of his posts he wrote: “How many vertical shots do you take? If they are well under 50%, maybe you should think about it”. Actually, my vertical shots are maybe under 1% of my total shots — mostly for laziness I suppose. Too bad, since often a vertical shot is the simplest way to get a good framing. So I just rotated my camera... and after a few seconds one of the guys decided to take a look around. So I got a wonderful shot of his majestic, long neck.

Thank you Bob. You prevented me from missing this opportunity.

Nikon D70 + Nikkor 300mm ƒ/4D ED-IF AF-S @ 600 mm, 1/500 sec @ ƒ/13, -0.33 EV, ISO 400, beanbag from the car.

Flamants roses.