Illinois Outdoors at
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Chris' Camera Bag

A Photo Web log by Chris Young

Beyond The Field Guide Photo

June 20, 2008 at 02:30 PM

Illinois Outdoors

At first, nature photographers are happy just to get the birds on film (or digital chip). The heck with composition and lighting. Often it’s enough just to get a sharply focused picture of one of our feathered friends.

Birds are small, fast-moving and don’t allow themselves to be photographed at close range.

But sooner or later, a photographer masters the basic shots and wants the pictures to do more.

That’s when lighting and composition come back into play. All it takes is the desire to do more and to get better with experience.

Also in the mix are behaviors - those actions that set one bird apart from another. Anything that makes the bird special or give it a sense of “wow”  can enrich your pictures.

The least bittern above looks right at home at the edge of Lake Chautauqua. It stretches its neck to get a better look at its surroundings and blend in all at the same time.

Illinois Outdoors

The Forster’s tern pictures give us a momentary stop-action look at birds in flight - something that has fascinated man from the beginning.

Illinois Outdoors

Anytime birds are on water, the opportunity to play with reflections is offered. The pied-billed grebe is a diving bird, and its wet plumage picks up the sunlight.

Illinois Outdoors

The blue-headed vireo becomes part of the composition as it looks for caterpillars and other insects on white oak leaves.

It always helps to work with the scene, and to be willing to take what it gives. Going in with ideas that are preconceived can blind the photographer to the possibilities.

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