(John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Catching a family swim back at the pond

I finally got a chance to visit the local pond.

The day was perfect with a slight overcast and the morning breeze had finally died down. I’d been stacking lumber from the deck I’d been dismantling all morning and decided a rest and trip to the pond was in order.

After stopping to check my exposure was good, setting my 150-600 mm lens to 600 mm and placing it on the bean bag I had resting on the open window, I slowly drove along the pond to a spot that gave me a good view of one of the goose families.

I prefer shutter priority for this kind of shooting. (That’s the S mode for Nikon and TV for Canon.)

With shutter priority, I select the shutter speed, and the camera chooses the aperture. I follow that old photographer’s “rule” that advises to always choose a shutter speed that matches, or is a larger number than the longest focal length of the lens, to reduce camera shake. Only change to M (manual) mode if I want to decrease the depth of field with a wide aperture for a tight portrait shot with an out-of-focus background of a single bird.

I have tried all sorts of contraptions to help me keep my camera from moving when I am shooting from a car. There are vices that connect the camera to the window, extensions with tripod heads that will fit tightly from the driver’s door to the passenger door, tiny tripods and steering wheel holders.

I even set up a tripod that had one leg on the floor, another under my left arm and the last extended out the passenger side window.

There are more creative devices available that I am sure will work, but the most successful for me has been a bean bag that I set on an open car window (or like the one I use that is filled with rice).

I have two bean bag supports that permanently reside with my tripod and a couple of monopods (oh, and an umbrella) in the trunk of my car.

The geese weren’t too spooky on the quiet morning, and only one car passed as I was waiting for the geese and goslings to wind their way down to the water.

I stayed until the two families paddled their way to the far side of the pond, then moved to see if there were any turtles sunning themselves on the dead tree that has been laying half submerged for the past 40 years that I have been visiting that pond. There were only three or four, but the day was cool and I’m sure that old tree will be covered with all sizes of turtles when it gets sunny and hot.

There are a couple more small ponds that I plan on visiting in the next few weeks. It’s always fun to get out the long lens and photograph the critters that live there.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week.

Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or emcam@telus.net.