Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saltee tales II

As I explained in the last post one of the challenges of photographing a gannet colony is achieving some degree of separation of the birds.  I don't mind too much the odd head protruding into the side of a picture, but even the perkiest feathered bum doesn't add anything.  In this first shot the isolation was achieved by cropping out 2 rear ends leaving an alternative bill-fencing view.
When you do find a bird that is isolated - for example standing on a rocky peak like this one - you end up snapping a whole load of shots aiming to catch some variation in pose.  Here we have pensive

flappy (and 3 inches too tight)
sky-pointy (from 2 different angles)

and pterodactylian (does anyone else see the pterosaur in this?)
Another way of isolating is to snap the bird in flight.  Gannets have a huge glider-like wingspan and soon fill your viewfinder as they come in.  The classic shot is taken as the bird stalls before landing, tail splayed and wings twisting though 90 degrees.  I did get one about right, but on review the bird's belly was so filthy it won't appear here.

I tried a few different ways to get a bird in the air and another on the ground both sharp but it was a big ask.
I did quite like this next shot of a bird above 2 slightly out of focus bill fencing birds, perhaps because the slightly uncontrolled look of the airborne bird reminds me how bad they are at landing, hitting the ground with an audible thump in a confused tangle of wings and legs - one even landing on Elizabeth's head as it completely misjudged it's flightpath.
It didn't put the incoming off though - wheeee
Another way to achieve isolation is to focus in tight - this was probably my favourite headshot picking out the feathers and just that hint of the blue eye ring,
but I had a bash at the high-key approach too (not really happy with the colour here though).

To end a few more portraits, the last reminding that next time I should work harder on some more environmental shots.

Not quite the last of Saltee though - gannets weren't the only birds on the island, so tune in next time.

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