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Sometimes, it’s just easy.


And this time, it was.  I was driving along the edge of the lake and noting with amusement the usual flocks of Canada geese and seagulls hanging out there.  This individual was really out of place, not one of the usual residents. Wouldn’t typically expect to see this in February. Anyway, I happened to have my 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS zoom lens already on the camera, and I grabbed it and started shooting away.  I didn’t need the zoom, though–this character was quite ready to walk right up to the car.  Since my subject wasn’t going anywhere, I had a chance to shoot at a bunch of settings to see what worked best.

Honestly, I didn’t have to think to get good shots in this case.  The light was good, the subject was cooperative, and my camera did what I told it to do.  And unlike many wildlife shots, I didn’t have to sit and wait for the moment to happen.

This is not the best shot in the bunch technically, but it’s my favorite so it’s on the board.  Settings were auto ISO, aperture priority at f/8 (I find this a sweet spot for this lens), leading the camera to pick 1/200 shutter and iso 640. I added about 1 2/3 stops of exposure compensation to keep the camera from dulling the bright white bird (learned that from Martin Bailey’s podcast–find him at

Made a couple of mistakes.  If I had this to do over again I would have set F/6.3 or something and shot it again, just to see what would happen to the background.  But, again, I’m just learning.

Look for one of the shots from this little event in the Mill Creek Metroparks Nature Photography exhibit.