Monday, September 3, 2018

Brown Pelicans photographed in golden light

Returning from the August 19 pelagic trip I noted that we had excellent warm "golden hour" light. As our boat entered the bay I obtained several photos of Brown Pelicans specifically to practice creating artistic photos in this soft light. I present them here with some commentary on the artistic aspects of each photo. [Read "7 elements of an artistic bird photo"]

Brown Pelican

#1. The photo above has soft light, is in focus, and has a good pose. The wind-rippled water background is perhaps just a bit too strongly patterned and distracting. This is alleviated in the following photos by getting closer to the bird and having more distance between the bird and the background elements.

Brown Pelican

#2. I really like the pose in the above photo. The background is clear blue sky. But the shadow on the underwing might be a touch too distracting for some. I'm shooting up at the bird just slightly, which isn't ideal.

Brown Pelican

#3. This photo above doesn't have quite as an interesting wing pose as the previous photo. But it is better in two other regards. It doesn't have a distracting shadow across the breast and the perspective is perfect at eye level. This might be the most technically "correct" of the photos here, though it is not my personal favorite.

Brown Pelican

The photo above really has nice warm golden light without any harsh shadows. The background has a couple of slightly distracting "blobs" on the water, and the brighter shoreline is a bit distracting too.

Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican. San Diego, California. 19 August 2018.
This final photo is one I really like. It really catches the golden glow of the late afternoon sun on it's brown feathers. The pose is really interesting. The wing is extended down and forward for added lift, the hand twisted slightly to reduce air drag as it is just beginning the upstroke. The wing is pleasingly patterned with all the parallel lines of the perfect juvenile flight feathers. The almost scale-like body feather texture is replicated on the wing coverts. You can really see this well if you click on the photo and bring up a size about 3 times larger than what appears on the screen. The shoreline is so subtle at the top that I don't think it detracts. The original had more shoreline, but I cropped as much out as I could. I could wish the faint darker wake shadow didn't go all the way across the frame and through the head. That's my only "complaint."

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