Posts tagged “Nikon

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.


Grasshopper (Two Photographs)

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In general grasshoppers will jump away from you and then try to “hide”. There is seldom a third jump unless you startle them again. I put hide in quotes because they are often still in plain sight like this one lying in his leafy hammock. Grasshoppers do not permit much opportunity for changing perspective once you have found them, as long as you remain still it will as well. I use a softened flash, and that has never bothered a grasshopper, what it does is create hot spots on all the dust on the grasshopper and the dust takes on the colors of the rainbow. I fix some but not all of that when I edit. Contrast and good color management ensure that color casts are not an issue. In my view what makes a good grasshopper shoot is the stare when you get them even partially face on.


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.


Simple Little Things (Two Photographs)

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Simple little things isolated on their own provide a perspective on city living. The inability to completely hide the infrastructure we depend on and letting it adorn the monotony of common architecture is the reality of every city going back in history. At the same time modest efforts to make one building stand out from another, such as the odd carving are nothing if they cannot be appreciated on their own. I don’t see why we cannot find some element of interest in photographing those simple little things so often crucial to our well-being and lifestyle.


Here be Dragons (Two Photographs)

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You seldom catch a beetle in flight or taking off so I was very pleased with the first shot. Looking at the two shots I noticed a slight resemblance to some of the illustrations I have seen of dragons and other mythical beings. They are remarkable looking creatures, regardless of the comparison.