Posts tagged “Nikon

Standing Egrets (Three Photographs)

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When birds like these choose to stand like statues, it’s time to focus on the surroundings and context. Birds, even rare birds, doing nothing in boring surroundings could do with a good background. This is one reason why cropping is important, to get the best background. A second reason to crop is that the bird may be too far away for people to get a decent idea of detail. A distant subject, in my view, only works when the bird is an element of a larger composition.



Great Blue Heron Landing (Three Photographs) and a Word on Cropping

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Seems a shame to show this Heron in flight and landing and then talk about something technical, but the bird has done a wonderful job of choreography that my words cannot do justice to. You hear a lot about rules and suggestions concerning cropping. However, all those rules, in my view, add up to ensuring context and/or drama. We crop to keep out the unnecessary, to highlight our subject, and for emphasis. Having said that, when there is drama and/or something specific about a subject that needs highlighting, I see no reason not to center the subject and ignore the rules and suggestions made by most “rules” of cropping




Dynamic Range (Three Photographs)

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One thing that is very hard to correct for and makes most of our photos interpretations and not absolutely accurate, is the fact that camera sensors cannot capture the full dynamic range of light our eyes can see. Color negative film has the widest range and digital sensors the least. Both are far from what our eyes and brains can interpret. HDR software (high dynamic range) has come some way in helping get a naturally larger range of light, but is somewhat stymied by the narrow color space of the web and print photography (that is the range of colors as well as light that can be seen in a print). Melding photos taken with different exposures of the same scene may help, but are also interpretations of the original scene. Camera makers’ attempts to deal with this with specialized dynamic range settings have not been ideal (they arbitrarily open shadows and darken highlights). The aim, whether you work in color or in B&W, is to make sure that the shadows and/or highlights of interest are properly represented, recognizing that sometimes compromise has to be made between them. Just because the sky is blown out does not in my view make it a bad shot.



Wood Ducks (Four Photographs) and More on Black and White

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Someone is bound to say that wood ducks are colorful and should be seen in color, so I left the color version in the post. In the days of film when shooting B&W, photographers would put color filters in front of their lenses to affect how color contrast showed up on film, For example, if you wanted a dark sky you placed a red filter on the camera and the sky would turn darker. In B&W conversion software we have the same ability to apply color software filters (only now because you can see the effect we do not have to memorize what each filter does). So in the first B&W shot  a yellow filter brightened the background and in the second,I used an orange filter that highlighted the eyes and beak . In my experience experimenting with these filters as a starting point is the most important step in the conversion to B&W. That we can apply filters in post may or may not be an improvement over the days of film, but it certainly makes digital B&W very versatile.








Dragonflies (Two Photographs) and a Note About Black and White

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I have noticed that compositions are more impressive in black and white when there is sufficient contrast to set out the subject and where the background is or can be made less intrusive. If you look at these two photographs you will see that the first works very nicely while the second marginally meets both criteria. I like both photos or I would not post them, but the second is a challenging shot in B&W.


Focused Detail (Three Photographs)

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An entirely out of focus photograph that has impact and makes a statement is not unknown. From everything being tact sharp to nothing in focus is quite a distance. We use selective focus in most cases to draw attention to a subject or part of a subject. I believe there is a third element to consider, selective focus as in the scenes here can be either chaotic, or make the photo interesting,. In saying that I think focus also has a certain emotional angle to it, with things sharp and clear our understanding is also clearer. So when things are in and out of focus, it may be disorienting, leaving an unsettling feeling.



Ring-Billed Gull (Three Photographs)

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The last time I posted photos of one of these birds I called it a seagull and was rightfully corrected. Names of birds and insects are interesting in and of themselves, never mind the taxonomical questions. Common names often confound the problem; the same animal on one continent has a different common name on another. Moreover there are generic names like Gulls and Seagulls that are easily confused. For these shots I used my 200-500mm lens, and I am learning that it is a little better, especially with birds in flight closer, than farther away. I hear Canon lens are the reverse, better with far away subjects than closer ones. By the way, the bird turned just after the last shot, but I was very happy to get a bird in flight face on.