Daren Smith 11:17am, 24 March 2010
I have always found nature photography tends to fall into two camps of image presentation.

1. Id style portrait were the bird is central and prime in the image ie
Great Fluffy Ball of Great Tit

2 Arty where an image is presented in a more contempary light ie is a more photographically interesting than subject, if you get my drift??
Breakfast for a Gull

I have always prefered the latter aproach, maybe because my background is as a photographer and artist, looking for a more photographically pleasing image rather that straight forward record shot. I tend to find a lot of nature photography concentrates more on the subject rather than this artistic approach, sometimes so much so that basic rules of composition are "forgotten".
I am not critisising this approach, but it does seem to me that because of the fast nature of wildlife photography when the subject appears, the temptation is just simply to catch it rather than think about composition and framing.
What do you guys and gals think?
Steve Plume (find me at www.ukwildlife.me.uk) Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Steve Plume (find me at www.ukwildlife.me.uk) (admin) 8 years ago
Nice topic, let me offer a few words that relate this to the group first of all,
As far as this group goes either is good its all about birds and the environment as long as the bird isnt a dot or the not main focal point

From a personal perspective I do enjoy that detailed shot ,a frame filling shot where you know fieldcraft and stealth are the key drivers in getting it, anyone who tries to shoot birds that are a few inches long will know what I mean

Then I recently started entering photographic exhibitions and realised that the presentation has a massive impact, background, composition and light play the key roles so I guess I'm half way between 1 and 2 in Daren's options
I like the detailed subject shot but I try and back off a little to try and get them in their environment.

such as



On the right Track
Aaron Gee PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Aaron Gee (member) 8 years ago
I know where you are coming from Steve,unfortunatly we cant always get the background that we want,due to light,trees,other objects in the way etc..etc.

I spent many hours in a portable hide waiting to get my shots of the kingfisher last year, up to seven hours a day,sometimes to come home with no photo`s.

Female Kingfisher

It was nice to get some shots of this female kingfisher,regurgutating her lunch with a nice background.
OneShotww 8 years ago
Steve, both of your shots are great. I especially like the first one - don't know the bird ID.

Daren, not sure that I have a preference. I like the close up portraits because of the detail and the bokeh you can get. Also, like landscape shots where you get lucky and a bird enters your scene - I think it adds to the outdoorsy feel of the shot.
birdwalkers 8 years ago
My wife was a big help in breaking some bad habits on composition. My main concentration are waterbirds. Early on I would strive for the field guide perfect capture. Every field mark clear. She expressed her disinterest." Your wood duck is just floating in a canvas of water how dull." It got me to think in terms of the viewer.Make the duck be with the surroundings. It turned into more waiting it out for the bird to improve position. Sometimes they change to a worse position. Overall I get more keepers waiting them out. She doesn't understand why I burn 100 frames on one bird in one area. Even if a bird is sitting they are moving. The cam sees every flinch, wind lifting a feather.I like to concentrate on one or two species a year. For natives that will stay for the whole nesting season. I Start with courtship to nesting,brooding,fledging etc. I'll stay with a colony of wood ducks from April to October. It will take 1000s of frames. I found nearly living with these birds teaches me details about them I vever found in books.I 'm shooting them in lights from all seasons and changing backgrounds. This improves my photo skills
featherandfur 7 years ago
Birdwalker is absolutely right ! Wildlife and Avian photography in particular is all about Passion, Persistence and Patience !

We all aspire to capture the perfect image and whilst you may get there sometimes it`s not always possible and we all have `the one that got away`
I spend many hours in the wild photographing Barn, SEO, LEO, Little Owl and other BOP and it really is all about getting to know your subject and field knowledge that can result in getting ` The Shot`, You know when youv`e got it it.
Sam has the right attitude and the dedication it takes to improve your `hit` rate and it is important to realise that wildlife photography can be a wonderful job sometimes ( being up before Dawn, freezing cold, lying in Deer Poop !) and frustrating at the same time. Keep up the good work Sam !!
fishandsnap 7 years ago
I try for both types of shot, record shots are very pleasing but of little value in a photographic competition, where the only thing a judge can do that is worse than describing your work as "a good record shot". Is to remove your heart with a tea spoon :)

The skills and characteristics required are the same as angling, which is the same as hunting.

Wildlife photography is just hunting in a different form. One can actively and stealthly stalk or one can lay in ambush (through knowledge of habit) and one can set traps, in this case feed.
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