The Story Behind the Shot - "Vertical Mirror"

Each Fall, thousands of Sandhill Cranes congregate in and around Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area in western Indiana fueling up before they head south.

It was near the end of a very disappointing day. I’d shot many exposures in and around Jasper-Pulaski and none of them met my expectations. I was trying out a new lens and literally none of the shots looked good (I found out later the lens was defective and returned it). After hours of shooting in very cold weather, my hands were about to turn blue, so I finally conceded that this wasn’t going to be my day and slowly left the area to drive home. But on the way out of the preserve, I decided to drive down one more country road before heading to the main highway.

About 2 minutes after leaving Jasper-Pulaski, I saw a flock of Sandhill Cranes in a field, so I pulled to the side of the road and got out of my car. Since I’d been lens having troubles, I quickly changed to a backup lens, a Tamron 150-600mm.

I was looking for a good opportunity, and then noticed several cranes flying in my direction. I isolated two cranes out of the group, got off two shots, and one of them is this photo. My frustration and freezing hands were no longer a concern, as I finally got one of the great shots I’d been hoping for all day.

Nikon D850, handheld

Tamron 150-600mm f / 5.6

Aperture priority

Aperture: f / 7.1

ISO: 320

Shutter: 1/6000

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