Nice portrait - well done!
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I would add, "patience". Sometimes animals take forever to do something interesting. Planning and local knowledge of when animals are active, where the good sunsets are, when the boats come in, etc...is also a huge factor. Even general tidbits like, animals generally feed at dawn and dusk, and small birds are generally more active in the hour after a rainstorm, etc...
Casual photographer learning new hobby. I want to learn how to take such amazingly beautiful bird shots as I am seeing so many of you guys posting. Gary, I especially like your work...any tips you (or any other posters) could give me. I have a 7D and 100-400L and a cheap $30 tripod that broke. I need to get a good tripod and monopod ( and heads) for birds, flowers and maybe landscapes. Don't want cheap any more but since I'm not a pro, I don't need a Rolls Royce. I don't mind paying for good quality. What do you use or recommend? Also, I've only shot jpegs ( I know I must learn to use RAW) and some pp with Canon's DPP. What do you use and how do you do any pp? I have been reading this forum for several months and am learning a lot from all of you, so this isn't meant only for Gary. Thanks everyone for your time to give advice and show case your work.