The Willet

400mm  f/8  1/1600sec  ISO400
In Fall 2013 I was on a vacation to Southern parts of the US East coast, namely South Carolina's Atlantic coast. I enjoyed beautiful landscapes and idyllic beaches. At the Eastern end of Folly Island there was a small bay with a beautiful beach. It was an amazing place. After spending some time there I was ready to leave again and while walking along the beach I suddenly spotted this cute bird. With it's long legs it was walking along the water edge and the long beak was picking up food from within wet sand.

400mm  f/8  1/1600sec  ISO400
Fortunately I still had my camera ready. I sat down on the ground, stabilized my lens on my knee and let the bird pass by. Since I was moving very little the bird was not afraid of me and came a bit closer. It was very concentrated to the sand to not miss any food and I was very exited to be able to observe it. Unfortunately the light conditions were not that optimal. The bird was walking in the "wrong" direction so it's face was mostly covered in shadow.

400mm  f/8  1/2000sec  ISO400
For taking photos of animals I usually use my EF-S 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L zoom lens which is mounted on my EOS 500D. The Camera was switched into Av mode with a fixed aperture value of f/8. This setting provides enough depth-of-field for a clear shot of the animal but still created a nicely blurred background. ISO was at a fixed value of 400 to enable fast shutter speed. Without having any tripod with me I stabilized myself by sitting down on ground and resting my arm holding the lens onto my knee.