I was driving along one of the roads in Point Reyes when I spotted a California Quail on a fence post next to the road. I have quite a few photos of California Quail at Abbott’s Lagoon, but I hadn’t yet gotten a chance at a good photo elsewhere in the park.
While the quail are easily accessible on the lagoon trail, there are only so many backgrounds and angles possible. The fences they perch on at the lagoon are surrounded with coyote brush, so it isn’t easy to get a shot along the fence line. Out on the main road, however, the fences are in grass fields, so there are more possible angles.
I went to line up a shot with good lighting on the bird and a vista in the background. The quail didn’t hang out long enough for the shot, flying down to join the rest of the covey.
I’d like to say this shot was planned, but I actually took my finger off the shutter button once the quail started flying, since my composition was totally busted. Two seconds later, I was kicking myself because I’d never gotten a quail in flight before. As luck would have it, I caught a single frame of the quail in flight before I stopped shooting!
I had dialed in settings for a perched bird, so the quail’s wings and eye were a little blurry. I ended up using Topaz Sharpen to fix that up because this was too good of an image to pass up. Next time I’m shooting perpendicular to a perched quail, I’ll give myself a bit of extra shutter speed!