Great Blue Herons (Two Photographs)

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These Birds were standing in the same area, one behind the other,and I suspect the second one is the older of the two as he has a wizened if not weathered look. Great Blue Herons don’t pose many challenges. They are not easily scared off, they tend to stay in one place for a long time and they do interesting things like preen and hunt fish. They also have marvelous yellow eyes. The gotcha in photographing them is their white feathers particularly on the head, these are easily blown out (pure white, no detail) and hard to fix. While long lenses help, some Great Blue Herons are familiar enough with humans to get quite close.

To the Left (Two Photographs)

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These were taken within a few feet of one another in a small town. Thematically, juxtapositions and commonalities can have impact. These two photos have one thing in common that links them regardless of subject. I have seen some great exhibits based on this premise. I suspect if these were in one room and on opposite walls, people would unconsciously connect them.

Cabbage White Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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The more I read about macro and close up photography the more I read about butterflies. Butterflies get active at around 15 degrees celsius I’m told, so many people find it easy to shoot butterflies in the early morning or evening. During the day when they find nectar or a source for salt (usually on the ground), they are easy to find  and shoot. I would also suggest using a telephoto lens, as it rare for a butterfly to land close enough for it to be within reach of a macro lens. This was taken at 500mm, but great shots can be had at 200mm. You do end up cropping, and my sensor is 24 megapixels, the last shot is cropped about to half of that. This a particularly small butterfly and it is certainly easier with larger butterflies.

Contrast and Lines

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I think it’s safe to say after a while, that photographers begin looking at life as if through a lens even when there is no camera to be had. Composing, focusing, thinking about what needs to be done in camera and in processing. When you have a camera with you all the time, you can shoot conceptual ideas and come back to them later. Some ideas are a work in progress. This situation struck me as a sort of Cartier-Bresson-like opportunity. I took it in B&W, processed it in colour then re-converted it back to B&W with some added contrast. I called it contrast and lines but it’s also moody and emotional.

Pileated Woodpecker (Three Photographs)

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These pictures were taken in a dark forest and I used a high ISO (2500-3200). I needed speed to stop the movement of the bird hammering to get the insects in the tree. Similarly a speedy shutter speed helped get shots when it paused. In addition this male pileated woodpecker has some important white feathering, and a lot of black feathering, you either get detail in one or the other at high ISO (because if you lighten the blacks you just get more noise and a loss of contrast that cannot be fixed without darkening the blacks). To make matters worse under a forest canopy you will almost certainly get a green color-cast. This is not the only bird where such things happen, but it is more likely with the pileated woodpeckers unless they are out in the open.

Balance in Photography (Two Photographs)

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Here is an explanation I found by googling balance in photography (no author was named)

“Compositional balance refers to the placement of the elements of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value) in relation to each other. When balanced, a composition appears more stable and visually pleasing.”

My problem with this is the visually pleasing part. Balance and stability are just additional elements of a photograph that might have impact on the viewer and create interest.

More on Bird Photography (Three Photographs)

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The classic (and perfect) bird photograph is said to be one that stands out against a background with no confusing fore, middle or background. This Kinglet illustrates some of the more common and less than classic circumstances. More’s the pity as the bird is definitely cooperating. In two of the photos there are out of focus branches, the removal of which would have taken considerable time in editing (and even then might not be perfect), and finally when the bird’s or the photographer’s change of position has the bird against a nice background with no foreground confusion, the lighting on the beak is less than perfect (it might be an easy job to fix, but I left it as is for the time being to make my point). The classic bird shot is possible, it just requires a lot of patience and the right bird, but more importantly what you see here is common and some skill at editing can help.

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