Wildlife Poses

Pardon as I make this a  “me only” day of photographs.  I will rectify that on my next post.

In my last post I wrote about finding the meaning in an image, or more simply stated, how we think about pictures.  Today is really a continuation of those thoughts.  This time the subject is wildlife imagery, and when do we view a picture as interesting, engaging and active, and when we do feel the picture is static. I am not speaking of obvious action/behavior shots.  When does a wildlife image cease to be a portrait, and start to become an active portrait or a behavioral study.

When does a photographic pose of a wild animal transform from ordinary to special?  A tilt of the head, a lift of a leg, a twist of the body, a mouth full of food? There is nothing more fun in nature photography, than waiting for those moments.

There’s nothing wrong with a traditional, straight up pose.  This Cooper’s Hawk is looking off in another direction with interest but I could make the case that a standard body pose like this would benefit from having the subject look right into the viewer’s eyes.DSC_5796

Some poses are pretty static, but a close approach and a some unusual backlight helped this Bighorn Ram photo to be somewhat unique.DSC_3191

Head tilts  Red-tailed HawkRTailN2007 183bbb

Male Northern CardinalDSC_8804

A leg lift. Young Red FoxWHfox 155

A body twist.  White-tailed Prairie DogDinoANWR 173

A mouth full of food.  GullDSC_8800

When does a pose become an action shot?

Caught in the act of eating.  MuskratDSC_3068

Active preening or a pose?  Male Greater ScaupDSC_7443

Mute Swan

NewSwan 227

What about displaying?  These two shots clearly show action but they seem like poses.  Male Red-winged Blackbird DSC_9707bbb

African Stork. Zoo shotDSC_0144

Here we have an animal (Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel) in a profile pose that is not engaging the viewer.  Still, it does make me wonder what is attracting its attention.1gRMNP2 034

This young Orchard Oriole is in the same basic pose as the Squirrel.  Much like that Squirrel, the bird has help from the sun.  The glint in the eye on each of these animals helps the image to pop a little.  A little pop with an ordinary pose helps.DSC_7277

This Opossum is clearly looking at me, and therefore he is looking at you, the viewer. Is this portrait/pose better because of eye contact?  Is the picture actually active because of all those berries that it was clearly seeking when it made the climb up the tree? Which is preferred, the Ground Squirrel/Oriole or the Opossum?40DSC_7573b

Two different poses by Whitetail Deer.  The first shot is of the “twist of the head” ilk.  The second shot invites us to make eye contact with the young deer.  I think the first image works because a portion of the body shows.  It prevents that shot from looking like a mounted trophy on a wall.DeerSky 009

DeerSky 015

Still photography does is in fact, become stop action photography during critical moments of movement.  In fact, with still photography, almost anything a subject does becomes a pose.  It was nice of this Egret to pose for me.HorE 030

After God and family, there should be nothing more important to a photographer than being out making pictures.  Sharing them, and if you are a part or full-time pro, making money from them, should (my opinion) be the next items in line.  I always wondered what was happening when I wasn’t out there.  How is that fox family doing?  Are the spring Warblers here yet?  I wondered how that great tree I always photographed in the Nicolet National Forest in autumn is doing this year.  I hoped all was well. I wonder if the Aspens are changing in Colorado.  Is that old barn still standing?  Let there be no doubt that the older we get the harder it can be to “be out there”.  Any opportunities I ever missed I still regret.  My only regrets from my life in photography, are the pictures I never made.

Have a great day and live life like it matters,                                                                          Wayne

P.S. For those of you in my part of the world…..stay warm.  minus 16 F tonight with minus 40 F wind chills.  Be safe.

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2 Responses to Wildlife Poses

  1. ron says:

    The images I never made, and the places I did not get to go for the images I never made. I agree.

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