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Entries in Tips (1)

Wednesday
Sep012010

Pay It Forward - Perspective 

I was thinking of titles for this segment and Pay It Forward seemed to be the one that best describes what I'm trying to do .  The one thing I have to come to find about the online photographic community is that they are ever helpful by passing on valuable information and tips for free through their blogs, podcasts, twitter, webinars, etc.  Most of my photo knowledge has come from these free sources and I'm going to try to pay it forward.  As the great Scott Bourne says,  "no matter your skill level you can always help somebody progress in their photographic journey."

This first post centers around perspective with two quick tips that can make a world of difference in your bird photography.  Take a look at the following two pictures of a juvi Ring-billed Gull; here's picture A,

 And Picture B.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you probably prefer Picture B?  I prefer B as well, by a landslide,  and I only did two things different between the two.  Here's a hint -  it has nothing to do with camera settings.... give up? The difference was moving my feet! 

The two pictures were taken seconds apart with the same camera settings.  The first difference you probably spotted was the background.  For the first image I was standing straight up and shooting down on the gull.  This caused the background to be closer and still carry some detail, which in this case is distracting.  To negate this I just got down on one knee and this moved the background further away and completely out of focus; it also places me at eye level with the gull; which is where you want to be most of the time.  This technique of getting low to the ground works extremely well on waterfowl and shore birds, though any bird on the ground will do.

The second main difference,  which may be a little more subtle,  is the head angle of the bird.  The first image the head angle is parallel to the camera sensor, which is alright but not very engaging.  In the second picture the head angle is much more pleasing and is a couple degrees towards the camera.  I achieved this by taking a slight shift with my feet to the left.  You can also just wait for the bird to turn its head slightly towards you but in this case my shift also caused the entire birds composition to change for the better by being slightly angled towards me.

Hope you enjoyed the first instalment of Pay it Forward and look for another one to come soon.  Just remember the next time you're out shooting use your feet to explore different perspectives because the slightest movements can make dramatic changes.

N.