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How I got the shotShowcase

Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Bob Coates

By April 6, 2020No Comments
Series of consecutive images of a sandhill crane taking off. 2020 Showcase, First Runner-up: Altered Reality. “Taking Flight” © Bob Coates
2020 Showcase, First Runner-up: Altered Reality. “Taking Flight” © Bob Coates

How I Got the Shot

Wanting to tell the ‘story of takeoff,’ I had been trying for two years to make a sequence of the sandhill crane shedding the earthly bounds that was in focus and sharp. It took many attempts, as the birds do not always travel parallel to the camera. In addition, trees, bushes or other birds can get in between the camera and the target during the sequence. Many, many files landed on the cutting room floor with either the wrong shutter speed or slight focus issue.

What I Used

Images were captured with a Leica 100-400mm lens on a Lumix G9. A Pro-Master 25 gimbal on a tripod made smoother tracking possible. Adobe Photoshop was utilized for bird extractions. Nine of the twelve images captured in less than one-second were used. One additional image was added to get better wing position for the flight. Settings – ISO 200 f/5.6 1/1250 sec. Background was created using watercolor brushes. A single cloud image was manipulated for shape and duplicated for reflection.  Approximately 40 hours were put into the creation of this image, which can be printed over fourteen feet

About Me

I call Sedona, Arizona, home. As a full-time professional photographer and Lens Based Artist I always had an affinity for photographing wildlife, with large waterfowl being my favorite, including snowy and great egrets, great blue herons and sandhill cranes. National Wildlife Preserves are wonderful, target-rich environments including Bosque del Apache in NM, Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware, Blackwater NWR in Maryland, Venice Rookery and many other locations throughout Florida. I’ve found any place with water and birds works for me, including the wetlands from the Sedona Sewage plant.

My Photographic Journey

The marshes of South Jersey were my initial exposure to waterfowl. Something about the beauty and grace displayed as these birds launched from marsh to the ether captivated me. This led to me wanting to capture them on film. Over the years I worked my way through many genres of photography, including portrait, wedding, commercial and find myself circling round to wildlife again. All of the different types of photography informed the rest. An example: I became a better wildlife photographer because of  practice creating fleeting images during weddings. I remain excited about wildlife images portraying avian behaviors that are different from the norm.

NANPA and Me

Joined NANPA in March of 2019. Have had the pleasure to volunteer to host several NANPA webinars, including “Getting the Most from Your Long Lens” in February of 2020.

Learn More About Me

My NANPA portfolio is

You can learn more about me through these links:
Art website:
Commercial website: