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Mourning Dove

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I’m sure its not the camera that has her attention, but the photographer anxious to get a good shot.

Mayfly

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Delicate, small, vulnerable, hiding during its very brief period above water.

Female Black-crowned Night Heron

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She looks a bit mean spirited, perhaps eyeing her next victim/lunch.

Painted

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A colourful bush in black and white turned pleasantly painterly, unsurprisingly.

Distortion

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Reflections help in photography, distortions on the other hand can be a problem. The frog is partially submerged but we don’t really see the water so the distortion is a bit unusual, possibly eye-catching.

Fries with That?

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Photographing people in the street normally takes some courage, but when their backs are turned….

Moving Forward

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Turtles always seem to me to be going somewhere, even when it’s just the end of the log to get some sun.

Goldfinch

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Goldfinches can be quite friendly and let you get quite close or rather you notice them when you are close. In this case, I had to backup a bit to get the shot.

Wood Duck

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You sometimes see female wood ducks alone, usually they are young and wary, but just offshore. They make for wonderful subjects especially when they seem to be interested in you.

Mallard

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A curious mallard is always a welcome surprise. It happens most often when they are alone and not in large packs of birds. It’s the flocks that disperse quickly to deeper water when people approach.

Downy Woodpecker

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Downies cling to trees as they hunt insects. However, they are seldom so preoccupied that they do not check out what is going on around them.

Chipmunk

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This chipmunk was slightly less skittish than most, probably believing in the protection of the underbrush. I usually back off rather then advance on animals, or stand still for a while to prove I am not an enemy. It works some of the time.

Cardinal

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In black and white this Cardinal looks positively prehistoric. It’s really an old bird moulting.

Squirrel

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Anthropomorphism, where we ascribe human traits to animals, especially expressions, is common and something a photographer can leverage. Looks of surprise never hurt.

Harsh

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It appears to be too expensive to avoid harsh brutal architecture these days. I am seeing more and more modern brutal architecture. At least in this view there is mix of media (steel and concrete), a window or two would have been nice.

Looking Down

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One of my approaches to photography is to constantly look up, down and around for things to shoot. Some perspectives can be a little vertiginous, even if we cannot spot exactly why. In this photo there is a slight tilt to the plane of the photo and I hope it adds to the mood.

Where I Would Rather Be

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The Pandemic flooded parks and reserves with people anxious for air and distraction. Now as the cold weather approaches only the very intrepid will make the trek out to those places. Covid wears on us all, and I suspect we all have things we miss in our lives. Photographs can remind us of what we are missing and what we can dream about as we come out the other side of this disaster.

Spotlight

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Photography is technically a science of light and we can choose to manipulate that light or work with what we have. I would suggest that there is a learning curve no matter how you approach it. Secondly, in the end even if you prefer one approach over the other you will have learned more about light. This photo was taken in natural light and I have done nothing to change that light.

 

Where

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One of things I like best about street photography, like the photo above, is that the question does not arise as to where but what. The idea is that a photograph grabs the attention by making the observer think.

Natural

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In a sense, Black and White Photography takes us away from the real world where colour plays such an important role. We see differently in black and white. It’s something I have been thinking about as I work in black and white.

A Personal Point of View

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I keep reading about how a photographer should create his own style. Well, I doubt I will ever be a Newton, a Penn or a Halsman, however much there work inspires me. However, I’m quite happy to keep trying new things, new techniques, and having fun. I heard a Pro say he quit to be an amateur photographer. I am not one for titles but it is nice to be your own compass.

The Unusual

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It being the time of year when some are focused on the unusual arts of halloween, I thought I would feature this photo. In colour it was quite messy, in black and white everything comes into focus and a certain oddness is more visible.

Aware

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Chickadees are small, fast and vulnerable birds. I have see at least one challenge a much larger owl, so I can add brave to the above. But they play close to the line. Where I live a large number of people like to feed them out of their hands. This forces the bird to consider the risk before flying in, their speed and maneuverability helps, what they cannot do is evaluate the nature of what they are being fed.

Explosive

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In an earlier post I described a flower as exploding given its shape. In this case the colour of the flower was rather over the top and distracting but I like the shape and implied explosive nature of its growth.

Posed

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Dragonflies don’t pose, they stop like damselflies to soak up the sun which gives them energy for their next foray of hunting other insects. Usually their backs are to the sun. These two facts can help in photographing them. If your approach makes them fly away you were never going to get the shot, but if by moving forward slowly they remain still, you have a winner.

Earnest

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Some flowers are quite resilient with respect to the weather, to pollution and the winds. I was told years ago that Black and White photography highlights emotions and implied attitude. I could have called this photo standing tall, but I prefer the importance implied by earnest.

Wary

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All animals have predators and all to some degree have defences. When it comes to birds, their attention to what is going on around them is quite acute. Trying to figure out what catches their eye and puts their radar on alert is not always easy.

My Whimsy

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For the better part of my life I have been involved with photography because I enjoy it, it’s been my bit of fun, my art, my challenge. Going digital has had its advantages and disadvantages. Of the latter it’s the added time behind a computer screen and problems with WordPress.

Great Blue Heron

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I doubt that in colour the dead trees would play as much of a role in this photograph and the ducks might be a distraction. You get to think more about these sorts of things in black and white than you do in colour. It may be what I like best about black and white, it makes you think.

Fall No.2

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In black and white shapes and shadows often control the image. You hear people use the word impact with respect to interesting photos. The word is often too active for the scene it describes. I prefer in cases like this to think more in terms of the interest a photo engenders.

Something There

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I cannot help but think that there is some illicit treasure behind that clapboard. It’s a desolate back alley sight that intrigues, simply because there is no obvious explanation. Sometimes photography should let our minds wander and reach their own conclusion, it’s why some caution against explicit captions.

Fall No.1

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Fall is colourful, but at the same time a bit sad as flowers and leaves die off. I think this is better captured in black and white as colour distracts from that reality. It’s also in tune with the times, if not Halloween.

Bee

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This bee spent some time skimming along the edge of this group of flowers. Delicate, fast and energetically going about its business. I take bee shots with most of my lenses most recently with a 200-500 mm lens. The results are similar to using a 105mm with an extension tube, but the distance from the bee is more comfortable for both of us.

Goldfinch

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I saw several of these birds a year ago and they always seemed a bit magical. Moving quickly in and out of sight among the high flowers. In black and white there is spooky quality to the bird appropriate for this time of year!

Frog

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This week I thought I would try to do a week in black and white. I usually do photos in both colour and black and white which I find interesting. But I want to hone my skills in black and white. I have always loved black and white photography, but it was not until the digital age that I have had the option to really get into it.

Colourful But Back-lit (Two Photographs)

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There are many ways to be creative in photography. As cameras advance in technological sophistication we get new possibilities. One of which is the ability to ignore ISO and pull more out of shadows with little noticeable grain. It worked in these shots of a sweat bee.

I woke the Bird (Two Photographs)

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Birds often sleep with one eye open watching out for predators. Its called “unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS).” When I come across a bird sleeping it’s never very long before its awake and checking me out.

Interruptions (Two Photographs)

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Our minds, if not our eyes, see patterns and interruptions in them. It’s the opposite of the leading lines that lead the eye to a subject. In the case of irregularities or broken lines there is a slight reaction that can help a photo and its composition make a mark on the viewer.

Local and Surreal (Two Photographs)

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At some point we all take well lit photographs of skyscrapers, they have great potential. Shoot a bracket of shots at different exposures and use HDR, the clouds move and often the software compensates with interesting patterns. I use Photoshop and not one of the stand-alone HDR tools for this, and it works very well.

Butterflies (Two Photographs)n

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When I am shooting in nature I try to get some context, contrast, or framing. Not always possible but I find focusing on just the subject is bit too clinical and not necessarily creative photography. An added bonus is it makes shooting some subjects just a touch more challenging.

Fill the Screen (Two Photographs)

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Almost every photography teacher will utter the words “fill the screen”. In journalism it’s a very good idea to include all the details in the frame, but in art and nature what is in the frame or not is a matter of opinion and how close we crop is a matter of taste.

Eyes

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Eyes are important in any kind of portrait, and I find it’s sometimes a neglected element when it comes to some animals, like birds. I suspect this is because it is hard to get a catch light in the eye to make the eyes interesting and look normal.

Falling (Two Photographs)

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Once you master the basics of photography and have found subjects you like, the two stage process of composing begins to take on more importance. First there is composition in camera and while filling the frame sounds great (and it is for journalism) remember the sensor format in your camera is not 8×10 or the size of any standard picture frame. Nor does it usually follow editorial requirements. So the second stage is the crop in post production.  As a personal rule I try to leave room in the camera composition to enable a reasonable crop in post processing.

Negative Space (Two Photographs)

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Your subject needs space to sing (talk) into, as one of my photography friends once said to explain negative space. It’s not a rule. If it were, some of Buster Keaton’s better scenes of being hit by a door would not have been allowed.

Realism (Two Photographs)

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Sometimes when it comes to processing a photograph I find the raw photo extremely realistic and there is little or nothing to do to the shot but prepare it for the web. I don’t call this out-of-the-camera as the camera’s computer and the import into Lightroom modify the shot.

Hummingbird Moth (Two Photographs)

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The second photograph could be my ode to Halloween. Hummingbird moths look better just a bit further away. Their flight pattern is more like helicopter than a plane which makes some shots a little easier.

A Happy Accident

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Happy accidents do happen in photography. I took this photograph when I was distracted and not thinking about all the things I should have. Yet the photo that I saw in my catalogue caught my eye and I was pleased with the result. Doesn’t happen often but its nice when it does.

An Old Complaint (Two Photographs)

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It used to be that the phrases “time is money” and the “customer is always right” had meaning. We didn’t toss things out that worked for other things just because they were shiner and newer. Clients were not made to work harder for a not quite the same result. Help lines and complaints were listened to and not downplayed. But as corporations grew, seeing innovation as a mark of progress and their clientele grew into large numbers, only the corporation’s time mattered, only the corporation’s concerns mattered and those who had problems became whispers in the dark talking to help centres that could do nothing but parrot the corporate line.

At the end of 2021 unless WordPress keeps the old editor I will end this blog. I have better things to do than rail at a windmill.

Depth of Field

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Narrow depth of field, to isolate your subject is not just a matter of the aperture you use (the smaller the better). It’s also influenced by the distance between your subject and the camera, as well as the distance of your subject from the background. You want the background to be further away from your subject than the camera is to the subject.

 

More on Choices (Two Photographs)

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The approach we take to a photograph, the cropping, etc. all involve choices. For some that is what make photography interesting. We would all prefer to spend less time behind a computer screen, but in many cases that is where the photo comes to life and lets us further interpret the scene.

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