Preparation is a key when going on a photo shoot. Gear should be checked to make sure the cameras, lenses, tripod, extra batteries, flashes, cards and any other miscellaneous equipment is packed and ready for use. Upon arrival at the location the appropritate combination of equipment is set up to prepare to make the image we have been planning and visualizing.
It is also important to be prepared for the image you may have the opportunity to capture as you travel to the location. While traveling by car, I always have a camera body with a lens attached to it sitting on the seat next to me. I have found that many times an unexpected opportunity to capture a unique shot presents itself and I want to be prepared. The image seen above was just such an opportunity.
While traveling along a gravel road in the Palouse region of eastern Washington I came around a blind corner and this threesome was standing there to greet me. I picked up the camera and carefully rolled down my window and was able to take a series of images without scaring the deer trio into flight. Many times an animal or bird will stay to be photographed if you remain in your car.
As I prepare for this kind of opportunity I have the following equipment ready. My Canon 1D Mark III equipped with a Canon 100-400mm IS zoom set to ISO500, f5.6 at 400mm is ready for immediate use. Generally I have it set for 10 fps in AI focus mode. Through some trial and error I have found that this combination of equipment and settings prepares me for just about any wildlife situation that I may want to photograph from the car. The equipment is light enough to hand hold and the settings allow for a fast enough shutter speed to stop motion.
There are undoubtably many methods and combinations of equipment that can be effective for these unexpected opportunities. My experience tells me be prepared and you may be rewarded.