Crow #1_Wilsons Promontory National Park_Australia
Avian or bird photography is one of the most challenging disciplines a photographer can pursue. Being small, the subjects are usually quick moving, shy and somewhat protective of their personal space. Being unable to communicate or direct the subject we have to rely on it alighting nearby, within the range of our lens, at a time when the light illuminates it in a satisfactory manner. By comparison portrait photography seems so much easier.
I was fortunate indeed when this crow landed on a burnt tree trunk following a major fire at Wilsons Promontory National Park several years ago. It bobbed around from spot to spot and allowed me to approach quite close to make a series of shots over several minutes. My guess is that, as I was at a popular campsite along the Lighthouse Walk, the bird was somewhat accustomed to humans and was popping in to see if there were any tasty snacks to be had.
The setting was a small clearing in an otherwise relatively dense forest setting. A very shallow Depth of Field (DOF) allowed me to isolate the subject from what would otherwise have been an overly complicated background. The direction of the light brought out the texture of the birds feathers and highlighted its eye. The result: a dramatic photo that captures the power and impishness of the bird. I’II post a short slide show tomorrow that will allow me to further illustrate the bird’s cheeky nature.
I’ve done very little avian photography, but whenever I make a good image I want to do more. What does that tell you? We are motivated by successful outcomes.
When it comes to photography being prepared and choosing to photography scenes and subjects that are not terribly challenging is a good approach for the beginner. Build on your success, over time, with more difficult assignments. Compare that with the person or buys there first DSLR camera, a day or so before and important event (e.g. child’s school concert or overseas skiing holiday), only to be frustrated by the technology.
We are just as responsible for our failures as we are of own success. We are all intelligent and talented, but how often do we make decisions that set us up for failure? And what low opinion of ourselves must we have to make the kind of choices that set us up to fail?
I hope photography provides you all with an abundance of fun and joy. It should be rewarding and the harder you work at it the more rewards will follow. But be careful not to kill the chance of joy with unrealistic expectations or being sucked into photographing jobs you’re either unable or unwilling to do. Be careful not to let your brand new camera become the 'goose that killed the golden egg'.
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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography