Editor’s note: In an effort to bring a new perspective, I asked Vicki Jauron to take over this week’s best of Long Island Wildlife. Vicki is an outstanding photographer and her wildlife images are some of the best you will find anywhere. If you haven’t seen her work, check her out her website and Facebook page.
Going forward, we’d like to use these weekly highlights as a forum for you to share tips about photographing wildlife, interesting facts about the birds and other animals we have here on Long Island or field techniques. If you have something you’d like to offer or share, please email them to Vicki Jauron at email@example.com or message her on Facebook. She will work with me to put these together. There is so much knowledge in this group, and this is just another way we can learn from each other. Naturally, the “no location” rule still applies.
Spectacular images across the board from our Long Island Wildlife Photography members this week! This week’s images highlight the fact that you don’t need a rare subject to create a beautiful photo. Good composition, interesting lighting and engaging subject behavior can make for a stunning image even if it’s a bird we encounter every day.
Our cover shot is of a Black Capped Chickadee by Brian Doherty. What we love about this photo is that the interesting foreground and soft background color all work beautifully together to place emphasis on the bird. And, of course, the sharp capture with the bird eating the seed just really grabs and holds your attention. Great work, Brian!
Our first Photography Tip is from Vicki who also curated the highlights for this month. Thanks, Vicki!
Photography Tip (Feb 2, 2017) – Sometimes You Just Have to Get Down and Dirty
When you look at photos, aren’t you more drawn in when you are looking directly at the subject’s eyes? Many of the photos highlighted this week are like that. You feel connected and engaged, like you are right there with the subject in their environment. Naturally, it isn’t always easy to achieve this! Most of the subjects we photograph are in lakes or ponds, the beach, or on the ground, in mud, muck or goose-pooped grass and it’s just easier to shoot down on them. According to Arthur Morris, a well-known bird photographer and educator, we should strive to shoot no more than a 15 degree angle above the subject’s eye. If you have a really long lens and decent-sized subject, you’re probably fine standing up and your photo will still be at or near eye level, but for the little guys on the beach (for example) you’re going to have to get really low to be eye level. How do you think Grace Scalzo gets those magnificent shorebird photos? Yep, she’s generally on her belly. I originally thought I was fine, just getting “kind of” low, maybe sitting instead of standing, but after being inspired by Grace, I started trying the belly crawl. I was stunned by how much better the photos turn out. Not only is the perspective more intimate, but the foreground and background get blurred leaving only the subject in focus and the background clutter is eliminated. And perhaps, even better, the birds are generally less threatened when you’re low to the ground. So wear your best (worst) shooting attire and maybe pack a frayed towel or plastic bag, and get comfortable with sand in your pockets, poop on your butt, mud on your knees … and enjoy the crawl.
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