African Spoonbill Fishing

Once the summer rains start to diminish and the water holes begin to shrink, Africa can be a very exciting place for photography – with a host of new opportunities.

Last year, at the height of the dry season, I was driving around looking for something to photograph, when I came across a pair of African Spoonbills fishing in a water hole with a level that had dropped dramatically.

The light was about to fade and only the very last rays of the sun were still falling on the top edge of the pan. I set up the camera pushing the speed to 1/2000 of a sec so that I would be able to freeze the action. This meant that I had to push up the ISO to 1250 in order to achieve these speeds. I set the aperture at f8 to make sure that I had enough depth of field and that the entire bird was sharp. Because the bird was white and the far bank of the pan had no light on it I had to make sure that my light metering was on the bird. With the bird being perfectly exposed it meant that the background basically fell into complete darkness and went black. This resulted in a stunning image.

As luck would have it, on that day the bird caught a decent sized fish. I was able to capture the moment and freeze the picture because of the 1/2000 shutter speed.

Happy snapping,

Rod Wyndham

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