Tip #4. Capitalize on the unexpected

Tip #4. Capitalize on the unexpected

When we did a scuba diving trip to Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles, I knew it was a great opportunity to photograph flamingos. But, when I heard a fellow diver mention the bats outside his room every night, it caught my attention. I went to the area of his lodging, in the middle of a large complex, and sure enough bats were flying around a blooming agave. Although there was a little ambient light, the area for the most part was very dark. At first, I tried to focus on individual bats, but unlike a hummingbird which will spend two to three seconds feeding at a flower, a bat spends about one second. It was like trying to photograph bullets. I noticed the plant had about 10 blooms, so I focused on just one of area. In theory, if that area was in focus so should the bat when he flew through it. I had to use a tripod to hold the camera steady to focus on the small spot. The next problem was that in the dark, I could barely tell when a bat approached and having to photograph with a flash allowed me just one image at a time as the flash needed to recycle. If this were done in good light, I could have shot in the cluster mode and got 7 images per second. I spent several hours over a couple of evenings at the location and took hundreds of images. Luckily a few were taken at just right moment. 1/60 sec., f/3.8, 24 mm, ISO 320, Nikon D7200, Manfrotto tripod with a Gimbal-style head.