Sandhill Cranes arrive for the night at one of the ponds in New Mexico's Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
It's great fun photographing the bird silhouettes as they fly into the safety of water to spend the night. There are plenty of coyotes and bobcats around, who cannot silently approach the birds while they're in the water.
When photographing after sunset and you want to capture the warm colors, pay close attention to your white balance. Since the available light is minimal, I typically use the panning technique where I follow the birds with my camera. Shutter speed is typically at 1/500s. Much slower and not only will most of your birds shots will go blurry but the background will turn into streaks while panning. My aperture is wide open and I also like to use exposure compensation to go negative, to turn the birds into silhouettes and further limit the light the camera needs, allowing for a relatively low ISO setting.
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Are you interested in learning how to setup your camera for better wildlife pictures?
Check out my book: Beginner's Guide to Bird & Wildlife Photography