Shark Valley, regardless of the 11 mile road work, proved to be very interesting. I would say even better than the Burrowing Owls at Brian Piccolo Park. We had been very disappointed with our session at Anhinga Trail, which we found very neglected and with very few subjects for this time of year.
Shark Valley, although not shinning like other years, still gave us plenty to do, especially it was a good workout for photo skills, since the light kept changing rapidly (very common in Florida). As we came in, it was overcast, and we had to work in ISO 800 to get any kind of shutter speed.
Although I’m a fan of Auto ISO on my Sony cameras, I don’t trust old 7D over ISO 800 and don’t want to have surprises. So I prefer to change manually and make sure my picture is taken at the best possible, given the action gives me time to make decisions.
I usually prefer to work wide open, which means f/5.6 on my extended 100-400L IS.
Unless I want more depth of field for more than one subject or very close proximity, blurring shoulders and such.
After mid-morning, the sun was shinning very bright, and the contrast was brutal, especially to get the Snowy Egrets,, that read 4000 s/s even at ISO 400. I didn’t consider going under that, since speed is a bonus in most cases and I’m happy with the grain at 400 ISO, in other than gloomy conditions.
The images opened up the blacks nicely in Lightroom and all the highlights were there after checking them. I was very happy with the results, even though the contrast was very high at the end of the morning.
Here are some pictures, and this is a location that we will probably repeat in the second term of the class. Hoping the road work is better by then. If you plan to visit, allow yourself extra time because of the stops you have to make on a one line road.
May the light be with you!