Monday, September 9, 2013

Birds and Rules

Bird photographers know well the rules of bird photography that address such things as head angle (HA),catch light, lighting on the underside of the wings, cutting off the wings, background, foreground, etc, etc. Some take offense to these rules. Maybe it is the thought of "rules" being imposed on individual creativity that disturbs people. I would like to suggest a different perspective on the idea of rules in bird photography. Instead of seeing them as rules, let's consider them as nothing more than suggestions. Let's remove the stigma of "rules" and the basic drive to break them, and forget about photography and its techniques. Instead, let's dwell on the subject, birds.

Think what might attract us most to birds, could it be the feathers and their ability to fly? Why not attempt to photograph birds in a way that will display those beautiful feathers in the best way? Why wait until midday to photograph a bird in flight (I guess you can use fill flash to compensate for the lack of a beautiful morning light)? Why not get down to the eye level of a shorebird? Eye level perspective gives the photograph an intimacy that is lacking in those photographs where the photographer is standing and pointing the lens downward toward the bird. Put yourself at the birds level, capture its essence.

Why not learn as much as you can about birds or a particular bird that you wish to photograph? Why not attempt to capture the bird in its most beautiful light?

Learn its behaviors, learn to anticipate those moments when the bird will display its beautiful instinct of survival; catching a fish, displaying courtship, feeding its chicks, being territorial. Want to photograph birds? Spend some quality time with them and adapt to their schedules. Bird photography takes time, it takes patience and it requires respect for the birds. Rules have nothing to do with these things.

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