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Two Errors and a GoldFinch (Two Photographs)

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I am always looking in my collection for photos that illustrate an important point in photography. In this case we have a great bird shot with lousy eyes and an imperfect shot of a bird with great eyes. Yes its possible to “fix” this. But it would immeasurably better if it were not needed and the originals worked as one would wish.

Window (Two Photographs)

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These two photographs, or edits of the same image are designed to make a specific point. I should not have to squint to figure out what the subject is in any photograph. But I often have to and that’s a problem.

Simple (Two Photographs)

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They say that sometimes simple is best. And in these uncertain times simplicity and clarity would be a godsend. In photography it’s not always easy to get that artistic background that makes this kind of photograph work.

Almost Ethereal (Two Photographs)

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Sometimes when shooting with what we think should be the best settings (e.g. shutter speed and aperture), something wonderful happens – our subject is in focus but the background isn’t and the subject has enough of “je ne sais quo” to make it look unreal. And for once I don’t care if the eyes are not perfect.

 

Issues with Bees (Two Photographs)

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I have taken many photographs of bees as my long time followers will know, but very few in flight or moving. These are typical of shots taken with a high shutter speed and a fairly large aperture. Taking photographs of bees in flight is challenging because they vibrate at high speeds even when appearing still. It’s why I mostly stick to bees that have fully landed.

The Wayward Osprey (Three Photographs)

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In this edition of young Osprey; the only juvenile to fly, came back for lunch. An impressive effort considering its sibling was not yet flying. My jaw dropped when it looked like the bird braked in mid air before landing (see second photo in the series).

Frog Heaven (Two Photographs)

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It is harder than it looks to get two subjects far apart in focus, in this case I used F22 as an aperture, something I seldom do as it has some consequences for image quality. I try to avoid situations like this because 90% of the photos end up not working because of focus issues. But sometimes you can’t resist trying.

Chickadee (Two Photographs)

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Sometimes the background is not great but not so bad that you might try fixing it in Photoshop. As this was one of those cases, many tools were tried until I got a satisfying result. More work than I would normally do but in this case I wanted to try.

Who Let the Bird Out (Two Photographs)

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These are two more photographs of things found on one of my walks. It’s a big question if this will be something I will be able to do this summer. Covid -19 has really put a brake on a lot of the best of life. Yes, the title applies to the second photograph).

 

Wood and Texture (Two Photographs)

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I learned a long time ago that trees have exceptional texture and can make for interesting photographs and background for other subjects. The leaf on the log is just as I found it, and I took the other photograph of a tree just as the sun went behind a cloud.

Hummingbird (Two Photographs)

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I was shooting through a small fence in a garden from a distance. These shots of the hummingbird were the only two out of twenty or more that were usable. These birds are not easy to photograph in flight, when they hover it is only slightly easier especially when seeing them is a surprise.

LadyBug (Two Photographs)

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These two photographs were all about how these colours and textures would work in black and white. I like lady bugs. Their amazing acrobatics make for great photos, but sometimes the photo is part of how you learn.

More Osprey

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These are more shots from the shoot I published last week. The only juvenile to fly while I was at the site flew back when a parent delivered a meal. I must say that the spectacle was worth the wait, but a longer lens and better light might have caught slightly better shots.

Vertiginous (Two Photographs)

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I took these because they were fun, bright and it was great time for fall colour. However, the angle is bit odd and may not be the most pleasant one for all viewers. Something to consider when shooting from unique angles.

 

Intimate Urban Landscape (Two Photographs)

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I do not remember when I first heard the phrase “Intimate Urban Landscape” used to describe photos of bits and pieces of what we see in the urban landscape. I like it, it captures the subject without making us misuse titles like street photography or architectural photography.

Frog Eyes (Two Photographs)

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Frogs in general are less likely to be found in the clear. Usually they are in the shadows, or water. But what always stands out are their amazing eyes. With all animals, eyes are a must have 99% of the time.

Painted Lady (Two Photographs)

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Butterflies are beautiful in flight and on flowers. On the latter they are sometimes like ballerinas. I try to shoot butterflies in a way that I can see as much of the body, eyes and wings as possible, and against as good a background I can get.

Posture 3 (Two Photographs)

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It’s always useful in portraits for a person or a bird to do something that adds to the portrait. In the first shot the bird is singing but we lose the eye. In the second we have a lovely headshot and the eye is much more visible. Hard call, but from a quality point of view I would go for the eye.

Posture 2 (Three Photographs)

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This is the second of three posts on portrait posture applicable to both birds and humans. The shape of the head/face is important. While the other photos here are interesting it’s hard to make out the details, and we would have to get significantly closer, losing the background to get that detail.

Posture-1 (Three Photographs)

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Many of the things that make great human portraits apply to birds and other animals. Of the three shots here, the first has a good view of the duck’s head. You can look at the two I rejected below it with the subtle but important differences in the position of the head.

Natural Abstraction (Two Photographs)

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This flower struck me as quite unique and I did my best to capture what I saw. In circumstances like this its not always clear others will have the same appreciation. That is one of the risks of the photographic art.

Juvenile Osprey (Three Photographs)

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The adult ospreys were not far away from their young ones. But clearly the juveniles weren’t happy and wanted more food. I think the parents just wanted them to fly (which as you can see only one did). You will note these were taken at the extreme limit of my  200-500mm lens.

Street Glass (Two Photographs)

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I found these as they are. They made me look twice and that is my objective, to shoot photographs that make people look (often popularly called “impact”). There is a lot of “language” in photography, some is not entirely clear to everyone and I have seen several dictionaries on line, none of them complete.

Down But Not Out (Two Photographs)

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Fall is full of colour and there is a new randomness to nature. Leaves fall, trees get more colourful with increasing moisture and the wind mixes it all up. Abstract art by nature. It’s very much like intimate urban landscape photography, you have to keep your eye out for the details, the light and colour.

It’s the Claws (Three Photographs)

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Ospreys are not the prettiest of birds but they have world class claws. They are an amazing sight, this one has a nest it can keep an eye on from its perch. Taking photographs of large birds from a distance is a skill, and the longer the lens the more difficult even with a tripod and a gimbal. For starters you have to find a small object with a long tube. 🙂

A World Without Bees (Two Photographs)

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I could not imagine a world without bees; they do so much for us as they are prodigious pollinators. As for photography, they make great subjects. It is sometimes hard to get great detail in the body shadows, or see the eyes. For me that depends on the sun, as I chose not to do too much work in processing.

Robins (Two Photographs)

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I always thought Robins were a sign of spring. They are in the big cities. However I was told they actually remain all winter in the forests and nature reserves. You learn something new every day. That’s one of the non-photographic pleasures of nature photography, increasing your knowledge of the natural world.

Damselflies (Two Photographs)

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I remain impressed with the combination of the Nikon D500 and the 200-500 F5.6 lens. I have shot damselflies up close with a macro lens and it’s not just more difficult but the closer you are the more likely your subject will fly off. That is much less likely with a 500 mm lens.

Mourning Dove (Two Photographs)

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I have taken several photos of these birds and only now did I think as to why they are called mourning doves. It turns out their song is mournful. I cannot recall ever hearing their song, but I will listen more carefully next time I see one.

A Walk (Two Photographs)

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I have walked this route more times than I can count, and taken almost as many photos. Today I’m wondering when I will get back there with my camera. We live in uncertain times. All is well at my end and I hope it is at yours as well.

Shades of Green (Two Photographs)

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Creative use of depth of field, even in broad daylight, can help create sufficient shades of similar colours to enable good backgrounds and interesting shots (at least in my experience). Try taking colourful outdoor photos at different apertures and ISOs and see if there is a change in the density of colour, there is a difference with some cameras.

Problems with Sparrows (Three Photographs)

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These three photographs illustrate the problem of photographing sparrows, at least in my experience. They tend to land against iffy backgrounds, and when they see you they fly off. Still wonderful creatures and a joy just to see them.

Lotus Borer Beetle (Three Photographs)

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This longhorn beetle is a real pest and its rather hostile look does not help its image. You can see on its back the distinctive “W” markings. I have never seen them in flight and they are not easily disturbed by noise or flash.

The Harold Lloyd of Chickadees (Two Photographs)

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This Chickadee is looking down the trunk of a tree ready to dive bomb and try to scare off an owl. It was not possible to get the attacks on film, even at a high ISO and high shutter speed as the light was too limited. Without the back story the photos are more a tribute to the days of the shenanigans of Harold Lloyd and Mack Sennett, a Canadian director of silent era comedy films with actors like Chaplin.

Dragonfly (Two Photographs)

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Not all dragonflies are wonderful up close and one seldom has the flexibility for too many perspectives in shooting them. In these two shots of the same insect you can see some of the issues, such as how much is in focus.

Blue Jay (Two Photographs)

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I don’t see Blue Jays often and when I do they’re tricky to shoot. They will fly off before I can react.  Last year I got two sets of photos. A lovely bird but in my experience a bit elusive.

Windows (Two Photographs)

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There is an endless number of variations on how windows (with or without reflections) make for great photographs. Depending on how you process window photos you will be surprised at what is in the reflective portions. Sometimes you can mix the surreal, abstract and reality in one shot without compositing, often just by adjusting shadows and contrast.

Evil Green (Two Photographs)

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Green is often the nemesis of the nature photographer. You might see a bird and it looks wonderful but when you look at the photo at home there is green caste to the photo. While it’s usually possible to remove, it’s never as easy as one would like (e.g. a white balance fix is not enough and you need to isolate the green with any number of processing tools to remove it).

The Lighter Reflection (Two Photographs)

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Given the lighting and the quality of light, the reflections of these Great Blue Herons in the water are faint. I still wanted the reflections in my shots, they add depth and texture, which helps the foreground.

Painted Lady (Two Photographs)

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Painted Ladies have been my favourite butterflies for the past several years. They are not easily spooked or distracted from their task and therefore could be said to pose. This gives you much more time to get your thoughts in order than with most butterflies that need to be shot on the fly.

Reflections (Two Photographs)

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In my view reflections are always a bonus. If possible, when photographing birds, other animals and plant life in the water, my attention is on the reflection. There are several things to consider in any photograph but spending those extra moments on what makes the photograph different or interesting often makes the shot.

Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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Butterflies like the White Admiral and the American Lady are among the wonders of nature. I particularly like the many different coloured eyes and the design in the eyes of butterflies. Most of the time I notice them as they fly past. Only a few stop long enough for closer look.

Flee the Fire (Two Photographs)

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Did the Merganser duck turn her back on fall colours? Who knows but the two photos looked good together. With water photos like these one could spend considerable time removing things in the water. It’s important to think about how much to remove to avoid distractions of a messy photograph, rather than remove every blemish.

Texture (Two Photographs)

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Texture has many meanings in photography; it can refer to mood, background or even the subject.  I try to keep this in mind when taking and processing photos, as it’s an element I can make creative use of. I chose these photos because texture is front and centre.

A Creative Twist (Two Photographs)

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The first thing I learned about taking photographs was to take several photographs, one in a normal fashion and the others with a twist. Now years later, when I see something interesting I look for a perspective with a twist, it works more often than not.

Water Becomes the Duck (Two Photographs)

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The duck’s tones are perfect, the saturated background a bit exaggerated but complimentary and accidental. This could be due to the colour style used in processing, or just the reality of the situation. I shot with a Nikon and used the standard adobe colour style in Photoshop, but like many things in photography there are always surprises and new things to learn.

Hummingbird Moth (Two Photographs)

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The secret with these insects is that once you see one stick with it, they are rare and don’t stay around very long. I have recently been experimenting with a square 1×1 crop and find it quite helpful in highlighting the subject.

Osprey (Three Photographs)

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My photos continue to be copyrighted 2019, as that is the year I took them in. When I get out again I will change the date. This osprey is a large and imposing bird and predator, but not the prettiest of birds in the forest.

Bad Advice on Flower Photography (Three Photographs)

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I stopped reading a book on photography tips when they said never take a photograph of flowers looking straight down. What rubbish. I say do what you think works best. It seems everyone has opinions but I like a more positive approach to advice.

Postcard (Two Photographs)

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There several ways to make your photographs of monuments look original but it’s always a good idea to take a postcard approach as well (they are just as difficult). The photo is of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

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