what’s ridiculous to some

September 22, 2020

Going back time and again to the same spot to photograph the same subject would no doubt seem pointless to most people. After all, how many photos of the same bird do you need ? You’ve got your picture, move on. But that would be missing the point entirely. For example, here’s a nice enough picture of a female Mallard.

She came in close enough so I was able to get really nice detail in the feathers and the eye. The evening light is nice and soft. The pond is very still with no breeze which provides a beautiful reflection. And I waited till she passed into this golden area caused by the reeds along the bank which is very pleasing for a background. The problem is, it’s just a picture of a duck. There’s really nothing going on here. No story. Even a tip of the head towards the water or some nice drops from the beak would have made a huge difference.

In contrast, here’s a nice photo of a fishing Egret.

But all I have here is decent action. And that’s not enough. In this case the bird was a little too far away so I had to crop to get this framing and that sacrifices image quality. In the photo above of the duck, she was facing north so the setting sun was illuminating her nicely from the side and I was shooting with the sun directly over my shoulders. The Egret above is facing east, same time of day and same shooting position but now the setting sun is illuminating the bird from behind which means the eye falls in shadow and is not lit up with a catchlight. And the fish is also partly in shadow. I had to turn so the sun is now coming in from my right. The water is too choppy because of a slight breeze which not only makes for a distracting background but also ruins the reflection. And the water is not picking up any color from surrounding vegetation so it’s just lifeless.

So ideally, how to improve on the Egret shot ? If the bird was just a little closer. If the wind conditions were the same as they were for the duck shot with the nice calm water. If the bird would have been facing north instead of east. And finally, and maybe most important, the egret would have been standing in that beautiful golden light instead of the duck. So all the components are there for the photo that I have visualized. It’s just a matter of everything coming together under the right conditions.

Maybe next time.

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