Lake Bogoria Kenya in 2011 was a good year for flamingos I spent a week there with another photographer friend and each afternoon we would go down to the lake edge, select a good spot amongst the flamingo droppings and mud, then sit and wait for things to happen.
We found that just sitting quietly was a good tactic as the flamingos would get used to our presence and then soon go back to their normal bird business. After our first day there we noticed that late in the afternoon huge flocks would rise up and fly past us on their way to a part of the lake were they were presumably congregating to rest for the evening. So the logical thing to do, as photographers are inclined to do, was take pictures of them flying past.
Shots taken at a high shutter speed seemed a bit ordinary so a bit of experimenting and the wonders of instantaneously seeing the result on a digital camera established that panning on a ¼ second gave the best result.
After an afternoon photographing a million flamingos we would retreat to the nearby hotel. A swim in their hot geyser fed pool, dinner and bed. Proof that the life of a wildlife photographer really is hell.
In the never ending quest to do something different we decided to put up some remote cameras on the lakes edge. This seemed like a guaranteed winner. A million flamingo strolling past – what could possibly go wrong! Well, it turned out that lots can go wrong. Topping the list was that the flamingoes would avoid the camera like the plague. Presumably the large “eye” is just too much like some sort hungry predator and at first the only pictures were tiny birds on the distant horizon. Then we covered the cameras with branches and the birds came a little closer but still not close enough. Tearing out my already thin hair didn’t seem to help. It was very frustrating. On one day a passing storm bunched the bird close up to the camera but in the process the waves splashed onto the camera lens ruining some good shots. Finally and purely by chance a hunting fish eagle distracted the birds to the point where the bunched close to the camera and we got a few nice shots. It would be nice to say that the picture was the result of my great photography skills but in truth it was blind luck.
Read more about the story on Daily Mail.