Using Burst Mode to Capture
the Best Instance of the Moment
Pictured above is one of my favorite Coyote pictures from Badlands National Park. Waiting for a moment like this and capturing it with pinpoint accuracy is very difficult. The secret to many wildlife photographer’s successes is the burst mode. Burst mode is a rapid fire mode analogous to the motor drives of the film days. Unlike using film, you don’t fill up a roll every ten seconds with digital.
Before and After usually shows you the pre-edit version and contrasts it with the post-edit state. This time, I thought I might show you the shots immediately preceding and following the decisive moment, as it were. Photographers have longed talked about the decisive moments and the timely shutter snaps. Sometimes a moment contains many exquisite instances. Burst mode on your camera allows you to dissect the many instances from a decisive moment.
The shots below were captured with a Canon 40D and a 300MM F4L lens. I spotted this coyote on the rims in the Badlands and I started to pan with him as he walked broadside in front of me. The animal was ignoring me and I knew if I held on him long enough, I might get to see some animal behavior.
Image 5 of the 9 image sequence was the best poised figure in my opinion and it was the image I chose to showcase. There are other images that compete favorably with the decisive instant. Any one of them tells a small part of the story of the hunt. But, if you want to know the entire story, the sequence needs to be viewed as a whole. Rather than just a pounce – we now have an embarrassed pounce and a miss. A single photo tells a story. A sequence tells us a truer story.
You can find many decisive instances in a single decisive moment.
Rikk Flohr © 2011