Just over an hour south of my home in Albuquerque, near the Rio Grande River as it flows to southern Texas, lies one of the premier bird photography locations in the United States. Bosque del Apache, a National Wildlife Refuge, is host to over 300 different bird species.
This image was taken just before sunset. With the sun low in the sky, this sand hill crane was in the middle of a very bright reflection. Left in an automatic mode, the camera would have created a completely different feel than what I captured. The secret to this warm golden tone isn’t filters or software it’s underexposure. Rather than allow my camera to make creative decisions for me, I spot metered on the brightest portion of the frame and set my shutter speed to 1 stop below a middle tone. The added benefit is that there’s no fiddling with exposure compensation each time you change the framing. As Ron Popeill would say, “just set it and forget it.”
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