Posts tagged “Birds

No Special Effects (Two Photographs)

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This solitary Great Blue Heron and the lighting just worked. While I prefer the colour version, the black and white does tend to highlight the bird in a different way.


The Duck Smiled (Three Photographs)

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We ascribe human feelings and expressions to animals (anthropomorphism). It comes naturally and sometimes subconsciously, even when we know better. For a photographer this is great news. In the example of this duck it might just give these photos the bang they need. On a technical note, I have been increasingly using spot metering on my cameras and it’s working out very well. The light meter settings on modern cameras are often ignored but are worth experimenting with.


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.


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.


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.


The Duck (Three Photographs)

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An obvious benefit of looking at the work of others is you get new ideas. It’s not always clear how to implement them, and the work involved in trying may lead to your own take on the subject. I saw some photos that were heavily edited in color with the light entirely focused on the subject, and the background and other objects fading into darkness, so I decided to see how I might do the same thing, and the result is reflected in these three photographs of a common mallard.


Shake, Rattle and Roar (Three Photographs)

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Nothing beats the grackle for a bit of a laugh. I did some work on these getting rid of some extraneous branches etc. I like the character of this bird and its shenanigans. And yes these birds are a nuisance for gardeners and farmers, but this was taken in a birding reserve.