Getting "The Shot" is a combination of many factors, each of which may be stronger or weaker than the other.
From my perspective, they consist of equipment, subject, composition, anomalies, technique and lighting. Some of these are not controlled, they just appear and exist in the way that they do. And there is often an unexpected surprise which can enhance a photo.
The most important element of the shot is in finding, working with or manipulating the light. My favorite lighting is in early morn or early eve, when the sun is low and entering the ZOML or zone of magical light. This changes throughout the year, becoming softer and warm or cooler and harsh. Another great effect from the zoml is diffused light on an overcast day. Yet for me, the best example of the prime zoml, is during the moving of a storm. Anyone who has looked to the east which is solid purple gray from a storm, while being in the sunlight with the sun in the west, has experienced it. There is no comparison to what is happening to all colors and objects. All of which our eyes take in and our brain processes, is bursting with pop out colors. It actually changes the way I feel and fills me with excitement.
To succeed in a unique photographic connection, one must capture this combination of factors, all brought together by light.
I must acknowledge and emphasize how special the animals are to offer themselves to be captured kindly. It is usually for a mere moment, but is nothing less than spectacular and an amazing gift. It leaves my inner self swelling with gratitude. Special moments are just that. They are realized and then vanish, yet that very precise moment has a lasting effect which shall always be a part of our experience on this marvelous planet. To catch that powerful moment through the lens is a thrill.
This is my desire in attempting to get "The Shot."