A SERVICE OF THE OUTDOOR WIRE DIGITAL NETWORK
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2018
For decades I’ve hoped to photograph a colorful Ring-necked Pheasant crowing. I’ve seen males crow many times and it’s a spectacular behavior to witness, but it’s another thing to be in position to photograph the action. So I’m always on the alert when I’m close to a beautiful rooster in season. This spring I was surprised when a strutting Ring-neck permitted me to approach it closely as it walked gallantly across a grassy opening in an overgrown wooded area.
The light was perfect as I took a few photos of the big pheasant walking parallel to my position, just a few feet to the north. As I studied his behavior I perceived he had a cocky edge and I did something I almost never do: I made a slight sound to alert him. I knew he needed a little push, so I merely “pished,” like you might do to attract a wren or warbler out of cover. Immediately, the big rooster pulled up, faced me and threw his body into a dramatic behavioral display punctuated by his primal crowing call. And I photographed every step of the action – how exhilarating.
I took a quick look at the series of photos I took in the field and knew I had something special, but the second part of the photo process didn’t begin until I returned home to my modern photo laboratory – my computer. On the big screen I could view the series of digital action photos in detail and begin the photo editing process. In all, I took a series of eight photos during the quick 6-second crowing display. It was surprising to see the stopped-action sequence, and this was the pivotal point in the process: Which photo or photos do I select to share with friends, family, associates and readers?
With the pheasant’s motions changing so quickly, each photo in the series was very different, but which one(s) would really share the magic of the action? That’s a great question and part of the fun of photography and editing your photos. All in all, being a good photographer hinges on being a better photo editor – selecting the best and filing the rest. Good luck in the field and in your “lab.”
Article and photos by Paul Konrad
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