Catching these eco-tourists kayaking alongside a mangrove stand and the birds in flight was no accident; it was planned. Standing on a bridge over the river, I saw the egrets perched in the trees. I didn’t bother taking a shot because, to me, it just wouldn’t have been that interesting; I have way too many photos of egrets already. But, I looked behind me and saw the kayaks coming. The tourists had cameras. I knew what would happen if I waited.
People who spend all that money to come to Okinawa on an eco-tour are going to want pictures. Usually, in a foreign country, if I want photos of the tourists, I point at my camera and give them the “Thumbs-up” or international “OK” hand signal and they (if they don’t mind), give me the “OK” sign back. This time, I just lowered my camera and waved “Hello” and they waved back. After they passed under the bridge I started making my camera adjustments. I knew I had at least 10 minutes before they got close enough to spook the flock of birds. So, I took a few practice shots and made adjustments for the best possible exposure. I put the camera in Burst Mode, steadied it by leaning on the bridge railing and waited. When the kayaks got close and the birds took flight, I was ready. This photo was shot at f/10 1/250sec ISO 100 using a Sigma 50-500mm lens@190mm. That’s a heavy lens (4 lbs, without the camera attached) and I could have gotten just as good a photo with a Point and Shoot if I’d had one with me at the time. Until next time, Happy Shooting!
A wildlife photographer living in Okinawa, Japan, Mike has been featured in Matador Abroad and is published in Apogee Photo Magazine, Boots N all, The Nihon Sun and Photo Guide Japan. He has recently joined the ranks of travel writers, capturing Nature, Festivals, Castles and Cultural shots of the Ryukyu Islands to share with the world.