I love misty mornings. They are especially powerful when they are the equal of the mornings in our photographic daydreams. The kind of daydreams that are reserved only for nature photographers.
Clouds or mist make for great images, but the time of year, amount of fog/mist, and how high or low it is, all have a major affect on your finished image. As you can see below those “daydreams” include a wide variety of moods, from dark and stormy, to light and airy.
In Need of Glasses. Caught this Great Egret while it was fishing…or whatever it was doing. This was made on a very busy fishing day for egrets at Horicon Marsh NWR. They were pulling fish up a fevered pace but this one just didn’t seem to get it. Sometimes learning is a slow and hungry experience.
Notice how the first two egret pictures are backlit. I like backlight on light toned or white birds. That light tone allows for some retention of detail in the shadowed side of the bird. When you add the light reflecting from the foreground water, it makes for a nice balance between the front and backside of the subject. I never shy away from backlight when the conditions are appropriate for a strong image.
The final image of these three is what I call an “uncomfortable” composition. It is actually an uncomfortable crop. This was the one and only way to crop/compose this picture which was originally a horizontal. I simply wanted to show the birds face and the weeds up close. I knew it was “uncomfortable”, but thought I could make a compositional point with the image. When I call something an uncomfortable composition/crop I mean you actually feel a little uneasy when you look at it. Non-photographers might feel that way and not know why, but we can usually tell. The bird seems to be growing out of an invisible wall which is really the edge of the picture. It does however suit my purposes.
I love mixing crisp light and deep shadows. It’s something that most photographers spend their lives trying to avoid. I admit that it doesn’t always work. If you want a bird picture for use in identifying a species, you should be able to see as much of the bird as possible. If you want to create an image of a historical site, and it is meant to provide information and only information about that place, then shadows can be disconcerting. If you believe that birds can also be art, or that places of history can have a mood, maybe a feeling of the ghosts of the past, then shadows can be an artistic tool. This shot of a New Mexico Spanish/Indian ruin, seemed perfect to fill that purpose.
Shooting upward with wide-angle lenses can cause straight lines to tip and even merge. Not a good thing with accurate historical images but perfect to accentuate the mood of an eerie ancient building. The image was made with a Pentax 6×7 medium format film camera and a 45mm lens. With that large film size a 45mm lens is equal to 22mm in the 35mm format, as well as with current full frame digital cameras. If your older digital has a 150% factor for focal lengths, the lens would equal a 16mm wide-angle.
I always used every focal length imaginable, but there is something about the creative energy I received from wide-angle and telephoto lenses that is hard to explain.
Please note, that while some contrast adjusting is fairly normal for me and most photographers, there were no such adjustments made to this digital copy. I have not darkened the shadow area at all. This shot was made on a Winter’s morning and a polarizing filter was used to arrange those scattered blue rays of light and deepen the blue color.
When it comes to ducks, not a lot of photographers show females. It is extremely rare, other than in bird ID books, to see female Redheads…..ducks that is. Below we finish today’s images with a boy and a girl Redhead.
When I make posts like today’s, and I don’t include much technical information, I am always happy to help you with any info you might want. If you have my email address you can use that to contact me or you can comment below the article. If you have not commented before, your comment will await moderation by me. I bring this up because some of you are shy and don’t want to ask questions in front of our audience. Mention that in your comment and I will answer you via email and delete your question. I have done this many times before. You can also browse through Earth Images and you will find many articles where I have addressed both technical and aesthetic issues surrounding the pictures.
Amidst the flooding in Colorado, I would like to wish my friends there well. As I watch the carnage on TV, I recognize many of those places from my years of traveling and living there. Stay safe.
Thank you for stopping by and please come back, Wayne