Sometime you just need a cute duckling photo in your life. Phil is happy enough to oblige us with his above shot.
Phill is our group’s most prolific contributor, in addition to being a skilled wildlife photographer. He certainly shows his skill here, capturing the young ducks mid-shake, with water drops flying every-which-way. He even managed to get the shot at the duck’s eye level, giving a very unique angle for the viewer. You can almost feel the fluffy feathers of the little birds!
Phil, our resident Osprey contributor, has really outdone himself with this photo. The bird is not only in caught in a dramatic pose, but also while carrying a branch for nest building, which helps to give the raptor a sense of scale. Notice the symmetry of the wings is almost perfect, allowing the pattern in the feathers to be shown off to its best. In fact, it’s such a great effect that it takes a moment to realize that the bird’s eyes are clearly visible and looking straight into the camera. Isolating the raptor is also an excellent framing decision, as it allows the viewer to not be distracted by objects in the background and focus all their attention on the bird. Very well done!
If you’re wondering how someone could get such amazing photographs, know that it’s a matter of two things: investing time and knowing the animal you shoot. Phil has been going to the same Osprey nest for at least five years (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009). As well, knowing that Osprey nest in the same location over their adult breeding lifespan, helps Phil to know he can always come back year after year to this nest at Belle Haven Marina to see these birds. Knowing other behavioral traits also helps him anticipate what the birds will do, which helps gets better photos. Two simple things, but they make all the difference with wildlife photos.
I’ve taken quite a few bird photos in my day, but I don’t think I’ve ever been able to get a shot like this one. Not only was Dan able to get a Starling inside a cherry tree nook, but he got it while holding a cherry blossom in its beak. That’s some skill right there. And the qualities of this photo don’t end there. Look at the bird and you’ll see the wonderful color variation in its chest plume. Also, the depth of field, or fuzzy, background is perfect for giving color to shot while not distracting from the main subject matter. This is a top notch wildlife photo!
Black-crowned Night Heron
courtesy of Glyn Lowe Photoworks
I saw this picture by Glyn Lowe and thought, “this needs to be shared.” Night herons aren’t easy to find, even though they are common to the area. They’re mainly nocturnal and one generally only sees them close to sunset when they’re out looking for food. But you can find them if you know where to look. Glyn not only found one at the National Zoo, but took this sweet close up. As I’ve said before, focusing on the eyes increases the impact of a wildlife shot, and it’s perfectly demonstrated here. She even has a beautiful bokeh background which keeps your eyes coming back to the eyes of the bird. Look closer, and you can see the wonderful detail of the feathers. Truly a magnificent photograph.
Anacostia River – Rolling On the River – 5-30-09
courtesy of mosley.brian
There’s a great video (after the jump) of Gabe Horchler of Cheverly MD. Mr. Horchler (the father of one of my friends from Cheverly) has been commuting to work on the Anacostia River for the past 14 years. The video is full of breath taking shots of the river and a great narrative by Gabe. It definitely makes you think about the river and what it means to our city.
I can attest to how amazing the Anacostia is. Back in 2009 I spent a lot of time kayaking along the river, launching out of Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Unlike the Potomac, few people are on the river; this allows a small sanctuary for wildlife to thrive. I’ve seen Great Blue Herons, beavers, snakes, Ospreys, Egrets, and even a Bald Eagle. It can be an amazing experience; I highly recommend going out if you can.
Check out the video after the jump along with a bunch of photos taken along the River. Continue reading
‘Mallards Coming in for a Landing’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’
Urban wildlife; sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? But there really are quite a lot of interesting species of wildlife within the boundaries of DC. There are hunting eagles; baby deer; even foxes along the Mall! Most times, you just have to keep your eyes open and you’ll see some fascinating animals cross your path.
I know ducks aren’t necessarily that fascinating, we see them everyday after all, but a good picture of ducks is fascinating. And Mr. T’s photo is certainly a good shot. Catching the ducks landing, in formation no less, with a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement is what makes this shot. And if you’re interested in seeing more of the wildlife DC is blessed with, do what Mr. T does and go down to Constitution Gardens. You’ll see some fascinating birds, I can guarantee it.
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’
Wildlife photography: the art of taking photographs of wildlife. I’ve had the impression that it is generally underappeciated in the digital age of photography. But when you really look at it, this is an incredibly difficult art form. You not only have to find fascinating subjects, but you also have to learn how a specific species will behave. This is important so that you have an idea on what they will do next, unlike with humans.
Phil demonstates many of the key skills of a good wildlife photographer with this shot. He’s been following the osprey, which take up residence at this nest in Belle Haven VA, for years. He also patientally waits for the bird to get into a dramtic, noble pose. And lastly, he aims for the eyes. This last point is most key for wildlife shots, for the same reason it’s important for human shots: we’re drawn to the eyes and it’s a window into the soul of the animal.