Over twenty thousand greater flamingos in one salt lake is never a bad way to start the photographic year! Well actually, they start arriving at the salt lakes in November, but the big numbers only really start to appear in January, and when they arrive, the show really starts.
It s quite difficult to get into a good position for photography, because the salt lake is quite big, although only a few feet deep at the most. This means that the birds can feed at any point in the lake often leaving them out of reach of even the biggest lenses. Every now and again though, you can get a small group of flamingos that have separated themselves, and wandered a little closer to shore, or as I like to call it, within photographic distance. The second challenge becomes apparent quite quickly; which birds do I aim at? When there are a thousand plus birds to choose from in each small group, it can be difficult to find the right compositions. The ‘spray and pray’ technique of just photographing as much as possible in all directions doesn’t really work, because inevitably in all you shots you will have birds cut in half at the edges. The trick I find is to go back as often as possible, and see what the pretty pink birds are up to. Once you have worked out their patterns, the potential images start increasing, and with a little luck, you can actually get a nice little group shot, or even an individual!
As with all wildlife photographers, I would love to be able to get closer and see what kind of shots that would produce, but until I can work that out, I will keep photographing from the banks and see what new images I can make.
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