Today’s post is a visual celebration of the tried and true art of
making bird photos that are clean and simple. Bird photos with simple,
tidy, uncluttered backgrounds is the practiced art of “less is more”.
It allows us to consider the subjects, both common and rare, without
I am not suggesting, that this is the only way to create bird
portraits, just one of the best.
Clean + simple = elegance.
Let’s begin with today’s best image of this post’s most interesting
bird. It was made by photography legend Jim Zuckerman. This colorful
bird is an Abyssinian Roller. Jim is “Mr. Versatility” and there is no
sort of photography that he has not mastered.
Skies are the easiest backdrop for the “clean and simple” project and
the easiest way to capture “nothing but sky” backgrounds is to catch
your avian subject while they are flying.
Backgrounds that have slight variations in tone, but are well out of your
focus range, still accomplish elegant image making. The same situation
was made use of with Jim’s beautiful image.
That is my garage in back of the Common Grackle in the second photo..
Quiet water of even tones is pretty much the same thing as an uncluttered sky.
Some pretty, morning light never hurts.
Whether the sky is gray or blue, or whether it has light, medium or
dark tones, any continuous, unobstructed sky, water, or even a
building, will provide an elegant backdrop.
Notice that compositionally, there are a lot of verticals on this page. They are a natural for single bird portraits.
I have spent uncountable numbers of hours searching for ways to get
birds into my photos, with backgrounds that don’t conflict with that
subject. Some of the best days of my life.