Often wildlife photographers are heard talking about both luck and patience to describe their work on field. I would also copy the same, but let me tell how exactly it happens.
It was a sunny hot day of winters in India, and I along with other fellow photographers almost winded up for the day, since we were shooting ever since early morning and it was past 11, without food. Sun was also harsh, and I was happy with whatever shots I got. We packed our gears and stared moving back to the vehicle parking which was at the entrance of the Okhla bird sanctuary, situated over the banks of river Yamuna in Delhi.
We were walking towards the entrance gate, and suddenly, from nowhere a bird crossed our path. A dark colour big bird, that was all what my friend saw, and immediately made all of us aware of the sight. By then this bird was nowhere in our sight. I was equally curious to see which bird was it. We were hungry both for food and a sight of the bird and the later won, of course.
The bird was sighted crossing our path at least 10mtrs from us. The side towards which the bird made its way was the river bank but due to dense trees and bushes, we weren't able to see where the bird exactly was. Now, if we would step further, chances were the bird would fly away and we won't be able to see it. In fact, still there were no guarantee that if we stay back, the bird won't fly.
Anyhow, we stayed back. We laid down as much as possible to the ground. Our eyes were continuously hunting for the bird. Just after few minutes, the bird came out of the bushes, paused for a while and went back again. This time, I was able to see only a large beak. Still, I was clueless about the bird specie. In fact, none of us could recognize the bird by the time.
We were pirspiring badly. We were out of water as well. We swallowed our saliva again and again. By this time, I was able to judge the location of the bird, and the lights at that place which gave me a rough idea of the camera settings. The same was done by my fellow photographers.
This fella was so shy, that it took almost more than 15mins to show up again. It was extremely slow to exhibit. This time all of us saw the bird. But hey- we still didn't knew which specie was it. We just shot the bird with every step it took around. The bird did not went out of hide completely, but enough for us to frame it properly. Only due to bushes, the sunlight was not very proper, hence we lost many shots being the bird in dark. But I am satisfied with what I got.
My colleagues too got few decent shots, and lost most of them in darkness alike me. However, one of them couldn't make even a single one of this sequence.
Here comes the experience. The ability to judge the camera settings prior shooting the subject (or toggling the camera settings while the shoot is on) is one of the basic necessity a Wildlife photographer should have. The photographer missed to judge the correct shutter and kept it on very high note thinking of shooting a bird. However, it was evident until then that this bird won't fly too fast as it was venturing around the bushes very slowly, hence behavior on spot is equally necessary to determine the camera settings.
Finally, while processing the images, I took it to google to see which specie of bird is it, and found it to be Red-Naped Ibis.