Don’t Cross the Circle too soon!

Now what the hell does that mean?

Imagine the following scenario : 

You meet someone for the first time and that person comes and stands barely a foot away from you and starts talking. I bet you would feel uncomfortable. Its the same with wildlife as well. They have a circle of confidence around them, break that and they get jittery. Give them time and that circle/boundary starts shrinking/vanishing.

Just like humans isn’t it?

Every subject (species and sometimes even individuals) has a different circle of confidence and a different way to behave if you approach close to it or break it. 

Their reaction depends a lot on how much time you gave them before entering that circle. Your approach will decide their comfort and your success/failure.

Tough as it may be, try not to rush forward in-order to get that beautiful portrait. Give the subject some time and chances are you will get more than just the portrait. 

It also helps to spend some time understanding the birds behavior. In fact, it helps immensely if you do that. Here are a few signs that you should know to start with. 

  1. Approach too close to a Frogmouth and it starts dancing on the branch or worse, opens its mouth. Please! move back.
  2. Did the Raptor (bird of prey) just poop? It means its ready to fly. Well looks like it is already too late but no harm in stepping backwards as soon as it goes in the mode. 
  3. A flock of Geese generally has a sentry who will keep a watch while the others feed. If he gets too alert, starts looking around frantically, step back. If he/she starts calling, forget it, just be ready for a take-off shot
  4. Has the bird folded one of its leg? Its a sign they aren’t too alert or concerned, move on slowly.
  5. All wildlife is alerted by sudden movements. Be as slow as possible and then a bit more.
  6. Keep that camera in position before the car stops. The act of picking up and placing the camera after the vehicle stops in front of the subject would often cause the subject to be alerted.
  7. Waders stretching their wings? chances are that you have come too close too fast.
  8. A lot of birds have regular perches and they would keep repeating these every few minutes. Watch out and choose your place wisely. It isn’t closest first always.
  9. A lot of times, we try to position ourselves between the source of light and the subject. While doing so, make sure that you don’t cross across the subject blocking its view of the light source. That sudden change in light intensity is bound to cause a problem.

There are many more such cases and I would to hear from your experiences as well…


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  1. Grenville March 30, 2017 at 10:01 am #

    Thanks for these great tips. Amazing insight.

  2. Kintoo Dhawan May 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    Excellent write up Rahul.
    Looking forward to read more such remarkable articles.

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