The song of the cranes: disassembling a photograph

The cranes They fly in groups within migratory routes, and one of their most distinctive characteristics is that they can be heard before they are seen. Their song is quite loud and striking, something that means that when you hear them passing by, you do not hesitate to look up to see the pretty figures they draw in the sky.

There are places in Spain where you can observe and photograph them, as there are also observatories for this purpose. In this case, the photograph is taken with a 500mm telephoto lens, in order to maintain the essential safety distance for these birds and not disturb them.

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Once you have been observing them for a while, you can appreciate how they relate to each other, making movements and singing naturally beautiful songs. That’s when The moment comes to capture the song of the crane in a photograph.

This photograph is a portrait of a common crane at the exact moment of singing. Notably they do this action quite frequentlyso it is relatively easy to capture this moment if we persist in the final goal.

In reality, the most complicated thing is have it just the right distance so that it fits perfectly into the frame, without cutting essential parts and including what is necessary. In this shot, we have captured just that moment in which raises its neck and opens its beakairing the plumage in its maximum splendor.

The shooting data is ISO 125; f/6.3; 1/400 sec; reflex camera; 500mm lens; tripod

As for the landscape: the image was taken on a cold morning with a lot of fog, a weather condition that offers added value, since it takes into account that the shot is temporarily located in the winter migratory passage of cranes. Specifically, it is in the coldest months when we can see them in our fields and skies. One detail: you have to dress as warmly as possible if you don’t want to end up frozen.


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To capture this phenomenon in the shot, we will have to overexpose exposure metering +1/3 so that it is not underexposed. We go down ISO at 125obtaining a shutter speed of 1/400 secondsenough so that the image does not shake with the movement of the cranes’ necks.

By having the background quite separate from the subject, a f/6.3 aperture It offers us a bokeh with a quality consistent with the image, making the crane stand out and have volume.

The shape of the neck that you draw in the composition results in an image perfectly compensated and balancedadded to the weight offered by the body and the feathers of the crane at the base.

Likewise, the vertical format is perfect for this image, since it is the only composition that allows the animal’s neck not to be cut in the frame. Without a doubt, it is an image that reflects the most descriptive characteristics and at the same time the most beautiful of this wonderful and sonorous bird.

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