Published: Monday 17th of December 2007 04:10:35 PM
Adan W. Be nice to me, veeeery nice, (and it'll still never get posted, I think). John (Crosley)
This is brilliant! I've recently become interested in the role of creativity in Nature photography (popularly supposed to have no role), and my contention is that just a dash of creativity can make a good nature shot excellent. The creativity in this is obvious to me (and it may not have been a few months, or weeks, ago). It's not strictly a nature image, being in b&w, but I think it would be just as good in color, and the creativity is in the composition.
Roger L. Although I'm not so sure that B&W disqualifies a shot as a 'nature' shot, I'll happily accept the modifier 'brilliant' to describe this photo. It started out somewhat darker, but it worked out better being lightened somewhat and desaturated. I'm always looking for an 'artistic edge' in my photographs, even though I don't often achieve it, and the first is to frame carefully; the second is to get the focus correct, and the third is to catch the action at its apex (here the beak and the fish with water swirling). Thanks for making my day (delayed letting you know because of site improvements.) John (Crosley)
Really a classy, beautiful photo. Thank you. G.
Giuseppe It's not what people associate me with, but feeding and flying birds are swift moving, and the 'perfect moment', may last just a fraction of a second, as here. Note the splash and the capture of the swift-moving head, fish in mouth. Believe me, egrets (herons) are very, very, very swift when that head unloops and heads to a submerged fish. Capturing them at any point in the head's travels requires ability to 'read' the bird, knowing 'when' it will strike, and then being trigger-sharp on the shutter release, even with 'C' drive. This was 1/160th of a second, and would have been blurred, but I caught the bird head-on so it did not subtend any great angle, and thus stayed not only in focus but had almost no (or no) subject movement caught within the time the shutter was open. I learned something with this capture, about shooting head-on. This was taken with the D300, and was desaturated 'in camera' using their 'desaturate' command in the D300, and that command does a really wonderful job, but only results in a new JPEG, not in a new NEF -- the D400 probably will give a choice, but this one's pretty wonderful. I added to the contrast/brightness in Photoshop, since the water generally is pretty dirty and dingy in the slough because of all the nutrients (this is not a Caribbean scene, the Pacific and its estuaries is full of life (and things that show in the water, plus the water is heavily colored, always). I'm pleased with the results; it's what I envisioned. 'So, John shoots birds, too,' (so to speak). John (Crosley)
Really beautiful work, I like it, John! I see the dinner-action, the reflections, the waves and circles in the water, the very nice grey background is unique! Best regards, Ruud.
Ruud, you're unusually wordy today You usually drop by with a word or three, and this is most unusual. Of course, as the resident color guy, you noticed this is black and white but mostly it's gradations of gray within a narrow range, which gives the appearance of color. There are quite a lot of people who don't think I have such photos in me; but they're relatively easy once I'm set up. It can take a lot of captures, especially since I never use a tripod, which should be a requirement for taking such nature photos, especially with my huge Nikkor 200~400 mm f 4.0 V.R. zoom -- as heavy a lens as can be hand held, but only for a very short time. Thank god it's V.R. Best to you, Ruud, and thanks for the endorsement; your taste is almost universally impeccable. John (Crosley)
Not unless I get an invitation ;) just kidding John.
This is not your trademark, yet I am not surprised at your talent to encompass other subjects and present them beautifully. This is a superb shot that is outstanding in every sense. The exposure, attention to crisp details, subject matter and atmosphere are unequalled.
Adan W. I am near a world class birding area -- Elkhorn Slough -- the former mouth of the Salinas River, which is a tidal estuary and a nursery for all sorts of birds and marine wildlife, such as otters (seen by the score easily from one place, even from your car), as well as sea lions and harbor seals. And cormorants, pelicans, gulls of all kinds, and so many other kinds of birds that I don't know the names of including last year a time when I watched great, blue and snowy egrets all compete with pelicans and gulls for 'catch of the day' at a particular culvert that passes under a road and carries with the incoming tide, migrating (and spawning) small fish. I missed that time this year when they all compete side by side; it's quite a sight that occurs on Sept./Oct., even parts of November. Now the pelicans mostly are the year-round residents, not the migratory ones. So, I like to do birding when I can't shoot people, since the two types of shooting are quite similar in that both require quick responses. This is not 'typical' birding where one hopes to catch a rare species and isolate it as it sits on the end of a branch, but really 'action' shooting. Thanks for looking and commenting. I've got a few surprises, hunh? I do studio and women, too, but you probably won't be seeing that. ;~) John (Crosley)
Dinner, Egret Style This is dinner a night or so ago, about the time the sun was falling behind thick clouds, at Moss Landing/Elkhorn Slough, California, home of thousands of sea and estuary birds. Notice the fish dinner in the beak of this great egret, a heron. Your ratings and critiques are invited and most welcome. If you rate harshly or very critically, please submit a helpful and constructive comment; please share your superior photographic knowledge to help improve my photography. Thanks! Enjoy! John