OP Home > How-To > Shooting > Avian Abstracts

How-To



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Avian Abstracts


A different interpretation of bird photography that departs from the usual sharp, literal imagery to which we’re accustomed

This Article Features Photo Zoom


A more textured background gives a different effect. When there’s detail in the background, take care that you create plenty of blur so you don’t get distracting sharp areas. All Images: Nikon D70S, Sigma 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6
The natural setting also plays a major role as does the background, along with the fact that using a somewhat longer exposure often requires a lower ISO. Watch your apertures so that you have sufficient latitude in your lens to compensate for the long shutter speed. Most of this is your call as to what you want it to look like in the end. Remember, there are no real rules here. Certain backgrounds can add a great deal as a bird passes across them. You can get a wonderful tapestry or pattern to enhance the photograph.

The subtlety of movement may be turning the camera to the left or right or up and down. It may include turning it 360 degrees or panning along with the bird or birds. The movements are simple. Sometimes they’re hardly noticed. No invention on my part, but what comes out of it is solely mine.


A least tern caught in a hover as it contemplates a dive and a bright blue sky create a strong image.
If you also pay attention to a bird’s flight pattern, it can help you create the composition you’re looking for. Or you can simply move in anyway you want to get whatever happens. That too is great fun as it can bring about some wonderful imagery. Nothing is wrong in those instances. And everything is right.

I try to think outside the box, and in many ways I don’t believe that there’s a box at all. I once had an art teacher who always said that you can break any rule you want as long as you know the rule you’re breaking. I always lived by that; however, at some point I decided that I could walk down a road where the rules were my own. Now I feel that when I shoot, I decide what’s real and right and what isn’t. My reality, my vision, my camera, my image. There’s a great comfort that comes when you shoot where there are no mistakes. Creating these images is really very rewarding. For me, it’s not a technical vision as it is a place of comfort. I’m at peace and at home here.

Remember, abstraction is “existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence.” Go out and experiment, and create your own unique look.

7 Comments

Add Comment

 

Popular OP Articles

  • Super Charged!Super Charged!
    There’s no substitute for megapixels. We look at the highest-pixel-count cameras, both medium-format and full-frame models, of all time. More »
  • Digital MythbustingDigital Mythbusting
    We bust some of the most common myths that digital photographers take into the field to help you get your best images More »
  • B&W EssentialsB&W Essentials
    A look at the essential gear you need for making your best black-and-white landscape, wildlife and travel photos More »