If you read the other day’s post (You Have to Start Somewhere), you saw that I posted a photo from an outing on my kayak. I was really trying to get a nice Spoony in flight, but that didn’t happen. Well, I didn’t get back until 9pm that night. And in spite of the fact that my HOA rules prohibit me from leaving my kayak on the roof of my jeep, I left it there. And then Wednesday morning came along, and I got busy and didn’t take it off yet. Next thing you know, it was Wednesday afternoon and I saw it sitting on my roof. So I decided “what the heck”, and went out at sunset again since most of the work of getting out was already done.
Conditions were pretty much the same except low tide was 1 hour later (around 6:30pm). This meant, I could plant myself on a sandbar until the good light came and not worry about the tide coming in too far. And this time I brought a little chair along with me, to sit on the sandbar. It had to be quite the site to see this guy sitting out in the middle of the bay on this tiny little chair all alone. (Click here to see a short 5 second video I took of the scenery with a couple of Black Skimmers flying by)
Below I posted two photos. One of the shot I thought I wanted (the first one) and another of the initial takeoff. Which do you like more and why? I’m torn. I like them both 🙂
Believe it or not, I think I may even like the second shot more. I like the overall shape and form of it. And I think Spoony’s look nicer fro this angle. They almost look as if they’re smiling at us. From the side, they look skinny and angry in my opinion and you don’t get any view of the spoonbill.
The photo was taken with the Sony Alpha 1 and Sony 200-600mm lens at 500mm. I used evaluative metering, continuous AF, with the AF Mode set to Wide. The camera didn’t pick up on the eye, but as usual, it’s not a problem since the focus points revert to the head of most birds with the Sony Alpha 1. Aperture was the lowest the lens would allow (f/6.3) and shutter was the usual 1/3200th with Auto ISO turned on.
Post processing was done in Lightroom Classic and some Topaz DeNoise AI for noise reduction.
So Why Did I Say “Success… Well Kind Of”?
You may have noticed the title of this post was “Success… Well Kind Of”. Once you know the story from the previous day where I got nothing from my outing, I considered the fact that I got to photograph the Spoonbill in flight with nice light on it a success. I think the late evening golden light on the wings really shows off the colors nicely.
However, the background isn’t what I want. Some areas where the tide goes out leave these green grassy/muddy spots that just don’t look quite as pleasing to the eye. If I could order this up the way I wanted, I’d have a nice blue water background instead, and that would mix nicely with the colors on the Spoony. But beggars can’t be choosers right?
Well, I tend to disagree with that. I do realize that some people would love to see and capture the bird in flight. But once you understand the camera and settings, and you have a great (and mostly slow) flying subject like this, capturing the bird in flight isn’t much of a challenge anymore. This sounds bad, but my Alpha 1 does all of the work. I just point it and push a button and with today’s technology it works flawlessly most of the time. I have 40 photos in this burst of flight, and every one of them is in focus and razor sharp.
So the challenge becomes refining your work. Not just capturing the bird in flight, but also thinking about backgrounds, light, wing position etc… And that’s where I’m at. I want to refine.
It was a great evening on the water, and I managed to get a couple of interesting action shots of some Royal Terns as well (more on that another time).
Your whole Birds section is just amazing. As for the Spoonbill photos, I like the second one better (both are great) because it has a sense of humor about it. That bird seems to say, “look at me, aren’t I the life of the party?”
Normally I’d say the first photo is the best, but in this case I like the second one because you can see the weird shape of the birds beak. That’s what I think is most unique about this bird and it’s what should be featured in a photo of it. But you did a great job on both photos.
I do prefer the second shot, it shows a more natural flow of motion, once in the air and straight flying the bird does not requires a second look. The perfect details of the photo are obviously clear. Taking to the air adds a little drama to the photo, about the same as a jet taking off a few feet off the ground.
I agree with Bob
I like the second one better. The Spoonie is looking towards the camera. It is a beautiful shot!
I like the second. The moment I see it I see it looking back at me. We have a relationship.
The second shot. Don’t get me wrong, both shots are very nice and I would feel blessed to get either of them. But, the first one is the ‘typical’ bird -in-flight we see all the time. The second one tells a story. As for your misgivings about the background, dare I say it…that is what Photoshop is for? You could always blur it a bit more, or desaturate the colors, etc. The Spoony clearly draws the viewer’s eye already.
Thanks Bob. It’s funny because you’re the second person to mention the word “story”. I don’t get stories from photos. For me, I look at a photo and I think Wow or I don’t. But for me, neither photo is a story. It’s a bird flying (and I’m okay with that) 🙂
As for fixing the background… while there are things you can do to help, I wouldn’t be able to get the background to what I want in this image. Some things just need to be photographed well in camera and (to me at least) backgrounds are one of them for the most part. Thanks!
Yeah, I think I know what you mean about not getting a story from a photo. Frankly, I don’t always get the story either. It really is enough to just like something for the sake of liking it. In this case, I just meant the story was the bird landing (more interesting) as opposed to flying a straight line (less interesting.) I think I have been listening to too many ‘experts’ telling me that every successful photo tells a story or the photo is not successful. Scratching my head now 🙂
Yeah, I’ve heard the same thing. Never quite made sense to me. I’m happy to just have a photo make me say “wow” and I don’t give much thought to why it makes me say that 🙂
I much prefer the more dynamic shape of the bird in the second photo; I don’t see them where I live so don’t know if this shape is a common site but it’s much more interesting to me than just flying. BTW both great shots …
If I had to choose, I like the second one better. It has more interesting shapes and lines. The color on the wings is awesome and you can clearly see the (spoon)bill. The inflight shot is technically fine, but it’s not much of a story. Bird. Flying. OK, then.
I like the first one better. it is probably a shot that is seen more often, but I like the simplicity of it. The second one has interest because the bird’s shape looks awkward but is not as pleasing to me on a longer term basis.