Saturday, August 18, 2018

Low key Pied-billed Grebe and Spotted Sandpiper

In a recent post I showed a high key Great Egret against a bright overcast sky, where only the darkest parts of the egret contrasted with the sky exposed to white.

The opposite is exposing for white feathers against a very dark or even black background. This is called low key.

Ideally, in both these situations it would be done on purpose and the camera settings would be chosen while taking the shots. In my wildlife photography, I'm primarily just walking along watching birds and making documentation photos. Thus, most of the artistic intent is performed in post-processing--after I'm home, not in the field.

So I present a couple of photos here of birds lit by the sun against darker backgrounds in the shade. These make good prospects for low key photographs. See this professional photography page about high key and low key.

Here's the first one with two variations. Which one do you like best?

Pied-billed Grebe low key
Pied-billed Grebe low key, Escondido, California, August 3, 2018.
Pied-billed Grebe low key
A little darker
I could have processed the foreground and background separately with better photo-processing software. I like the bird and sandbar on the top photo, but would have pushed the background even darker than the bottom photo, if I could.

I tried two versions of this Spotted Sandpiper, but they both turned out nearly identically. So here is one.

Spotted Sandpiper low key
Spotted Sandpiper low key.

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