Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wildlife Composition

When shooting wildlife I find that I am always mindful of the backgrounds, trying to avoid things like a branch or weed that pops out of the subjects head etc, items that distract the viewer from the subject. Many times I will use a wide aperture to reduce the depth of field and allow the background to blur to illuminate distracting elements.

Snow gives one the opportunity to photograph wildlife on a white background with no distracting elements, perhaps even making the image less attractive because there are no elements in the photograph other than the main subject. I composed this White-throated Sparrow image to include the dried weed stems to add depth.

Here a single broken dried grass stem is the only element other than the sparrow.

Do you think these photographs are improved by the inclusion of these elements or would they be better without? Tell me what you think.


Rambling Woods said...

I don't have your skills, so I can't adjust things as much as you do. I guess it depends on what you are trying to capture..the feeling you want to convey...Your photos are amazing and I do follow your adventures in my reader...Michelle

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I almost hesitate to comment on this one,but since you asked.I think in the first picture the dried stems add to the image.In the second one,the stick looks like it is propping up the tail.I am learning a lot from these tips you give.

photowannabe said...

I think the weed stalk in the first one definitely adds to the composition. it gives balance and definition.
I like the second one too. the stem shows relative size and adds to the story of the little sparrow finding food in the bank of snow.
Always love coming here and seeing your gorgeous pictures.
The Happiest of New Years Coy.

Richard said...

Don't think I like the white background but must say I like the first picture. The second one almost looks like you cut and pasted in the bird.

But everyone has their own style, so if you like it, that's all that really counts.

Craig Glenn said...

With by far! I think it gives character to the photo.

As far as your photography goes... I hate you. LOL I have a WT Sparrow scheduled to post in a day or two and I am tempted to pull it down now!

You are awesome Coy!


Chris said...

Hi Coy,
Well to answer your last question... I'm not sure how to answer it...
I think nature photography has changed a lot these last years. At the beginning the species was the target and people tended to take pictures without branches or other things around... I like pictures in the natural environment, so a branch or some background does not bother me.... I tend to try both approaches, get a nice shot without anything around and then get the bird in it environment... But it is first your pleasure that must be prioritized... You have to be THE one happy about your pictures ;-)

Kerri Farley said...

Hi Coy,
The White throated sparrow has been a frequent visitor at my home this year...they have become one of my favorite birds :)

And both shots are lovely. I like the first shot with the branch included. I think the second shot would have worked better had the bird been turned a little's almost as if the little twig is attached to his tail. I'm always using shots that have shadows or branches in a non cooperative spot if I like the shot otherwise....sometime you take what you can get :)

Les Barr said...

In my opinion, I think that the weeds in the background helped the Image look better. Instead of having just a plain white background with the Sparrow, the weeds give the image the look of how stark winter is.

I am assuming that the White Sparrow is from here in PA? Don't recall ever seeing them, but maybe I'm just not looking.

Thanks for your information.

imac said...

Nice ones Coy, I think they add to the photo, but then, I'm no pro.

Chad Oneil Myers said...

I think the first one looks good with the twigs included, but would still look good with just an all white background and slightly closer crop.

Either way, the first image is much stronger than the second image.

FAB said...

First shot is fine, although I would prefer a little more distance between the bird and the foliage. For the second shot the stem would be ok if it didn't appear to touch the main subject. Just my opinion, of course but I certainly couldn't have done any better Coy.

Montanagirl said...

Nice photos. The first one is definitely improved by the inclusion of the of the dried weeds. The second one is nice too, but I think the stem is more of a distraction - but I'm not an expert by any means.Beautiful bird shots in any event!

Coy Hill said...

A big hearty thank you to all who took the time to comment, I appreciate your critique. I am always striving to improve my photography and getting others opinions certainly helps.

Les, The White-throated sparrow is common in Pa. year around with much higher numbers in winter. The will frequent feeders and prefer brushy areas where they can be found flitting about the low hanging branches. Check out those brushy areas and you will be sure to see them.