Some of my favorite images from a photo shoot come right at the end of the shoot.
Years ago, I noticed that the best photo opportunities often presented themselves at the moment just after I put all my camera gear away. For example, I might be observing an animal for an hour or more at the Brookfield Zoo. After deciding that enough time had passed, I would pack up and get ready to leave--only to see the animal exhibit a behavior that would have made for an incredible picture!
This happens when shooting sunsets as well. In past years, like so many other photographers around me, I would pack up and leave the scene the moment the sun dropped below the horizon. But, the digital sensor has the ability to record some incredible colors even after the scene is quite dark to our eyes. Some of my best photographs were captured well after the sun disappeared from the sky.
In recent years, I've tried to continue photographing a scene for at least 15 minutes after I ordinarily would have planned to leave. This practice has given me an opportunity to capture many of my favorite photographs.
Last month, I attended a "Bird of Prey" workshop led by Steve Gettle at the Howell Nature Center in Michigan. The photo shoot took place on a rainy afternoon. During the shoot, the rain gradually increased in intensity until just a handful of photographers remained. At some point, I noticed that I was the last photographer shooting! Fortunately, one of the volunteer handlers was patient enough to allow me to take a few parting shots of a Great Horned Owl in the rain. As it turns out, the very last image that I captured (and the last photograph taken by anyone at the workshop) was one of my favorites from the trip!