Posts tagged “Bird Photography

A Phoebe and More on Bird Photography (Three Photographs)

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One thing all animal photography has in common (be it man or beast), is the importance of eyes. Not to say some photographs of animals from the back are not great but generally we like to see the eyes. People like bright eyes where the color if any can be seen, and they like catch lights; those spots of light in the eye. Moreover it’s best when the brightness and catch lights are natural. What makes this bird stand out from its hiding place are the naturally lit eyes. In my view they help make the bird stand out from the background.


House Finch in Category 4 (Three Photographs)

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In my post on Wednesday I categorized birds, and this one falls into Category Four: eyes in sight, good background, stays put (albeit not quite at eye level).  Often with a bright sky, a bird in this position can appear back-lit or in shadow. Taking down the highlights, increasing contrast in post processing can help. Eyes can be brightened, (this was done in the second and third photograph here). Some people use flash and flash extenders (like the Better Beamer with fresnel screens). The latter solution is not ideal for close up shooting as the bird will be seriously disturbed with the flash of light; with a long lens the effect would be much less noticeable (I’ve tried this and I find it’s unwieldy at best). Making a picture of bird means finding the bird, watching the light, getting a good posture, background and view of the eyes and body. In this case the Finch had just visited a feeder at a wildlife garden, the feeder was far off to the left and I saw the bird as it crossed my path.


Classifying Birds From a Photographic Stand Point (Two Photographs)

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As a photographer I classify birds into four groups: 1) I can hear them but can’t see them; 2) in the bush hiding (see Green Heron in this post); the rare but valued out in the open (at eye level) bird against a usable background; 4) same as three but stay put for their portrait. About 60% fall into category 1, 30% into category 2, 10% into category 3 and 5% into category 4. It’s a good thing that there are places with high a concentrations of birds. This is only partially in jest but I will admit percentages are higher for successful bird watching than bird photography.


Great Blue Heron (Three Photographs)

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I have not seen many of these herons this year and this is the only one I have been able to photograph. This heron was resting and preening with quite an evil look on its old face. While I have been very close to Great Blues, for the most part a long lens and knowing how to use exposure compensation (so the white feathers do not lose detail) are usually essential.


The Disappointment (Three Photographs)

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I saw this young male wood duck (out of mating colors)  go into what looked like hunting mode and its head dove into the water. Out he came with a big clump of duckweed, which it proceeded to eat. I’d show the duckweed but to say it was ugly and unappetizing would be an understatement. The duck seemed to have perpetual grin on his face, as if to say, you wanted me to catch something more interesting eh?


Attitude (Two Photographs)

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In yesterday’s post I spoke about impact on audience. Attitude is one of the ways I think about getting impact. Two types of attitude are most important to me: my position in relation to the subject, and getting a feeling of the subject’s personality across. A subject at eye level is an equal while looking down or up at a subject can infer something else. Secondly, almost any subject (e.g. a door or a duck), brings something to mind and often implies an attitude and it’s the photographer’s job to highlight that.


Downtown with the Unexpected (Two Photographs)

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I saw a group of cab drivers standing around staring at a tree, turned out to be a female downy woodpecker. This is the first time I have seen a bird like this, or for that matter any interesting birds in the concrete jungle. This reminds me I have to send a note to the Museum of Nature to suggest they put decals on their windows so the sparrows don’t fly into them, sends an ironic message about a nature museum.