The Decisive Moment
Henri Cartier Bresson was a master of “the decisive moment”, that point in time when everything in a scene comes together, the optimal time to release the shutter. How do you know when that time comes? Well, sometimes it will just jump up and slap you in the face, sometimes it might be nothing more than a gut feeling. The ability to recognize such moments is usually the result of long experience. Like most things in life, capturing the decisive moment does not have a formula other than the ability to see and an awareness of what is unfolding before your eyes.
I made this image at Bosque del Apache. It was twilight and I had been watching these two Sandhill Cranes. They were obviously a mated pair-Sandhill Cranes mate for life. I have to say that capturing this moment was partly luck, but it was also a result of looking, paying attention to what was happening, and a knowledge of crane behavior. I came away with not only a great image, but also with a deeper understanding and compassion for these beautiful birds.
What it comes down to is being prepared. Prepared with knowledge of your subject; prepared with knowledge of your craft; and prepared with a patient attitude. The rest is easy.