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Mating dance
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Monday, January 07, 2019
By Jim Zuckerman
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These are Japanese cranes performing their mating dance in the dead of winter on Hokkaido Island in Japan. There were dozens of birds there, and it was a challenge to catch a pair of them with a clean background and at the same time with beautiful wing formations. I shot this with a Canon 500mm f/4 telephoto from a tripod with a gimbal head, and although I wanted a frame-filling shot, I had to be careful not to compose the picture too tightly because it would be very easy to accidentally cut off the tips of the wings when they suddenly were extended. My settings were 1/2000, f/8, and 800 ISO. I have other shots where the two birds are jumping in the air, although this wing formation appealed to me a lot. I took this in 2015 with a Canon 5D Mark III capable of 6 frames per second. My camera now, the 1Dx Mark II, shoots at 14 fps and that gives me all the nuances in the fluttering wings.
I'm leaving for Ethiopia in the morning for a photo tour to this amazing country. I should have some interesting posts coming up.
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Jim - Thank you, Bob. Hopefully I can post images from there.
Bob Vestal - Beautiful image, Jim. Like our Sandhill Cranes, these are magnificent birds. Have a great trip to Ethiopia!

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