My new “About This Shot Series” will include a narrative on how and also why I captured the shot. I am always being asked if I could go into more detail and give more information on how I got the shot or my thought process as I was photographing. In this series, I will try to go into as much detail as possible. I will do this series as long as there is interest. If no one comments or shows interest, I‘ll stop posting them, so it is really up to you if you find value in these posts or not.
Since my new blog went live, I have had lots of emails telling me of the difficulties of signing in to comment, I have disabled this requirement, but you will still need to add your name-even if all the other fields show-just add your name and hit comment, it should go through.
Now onto the shot…
This shot above, though photographed in Swakopmund, Namibia from a small chartered boat originated in the Galapagos-well at least the concept of the shot did. Several years ago while co-leading my second Galapagos trip I photographed an abstract of wet Frigatebird feathers just after a light rain. The colors of the feathers had an iridescent quality to them. The flow of the feathers appealed to me as well, so I shot them with my Canon 300mm, f/2.8 II lens. That lens was an important piece of gear that day as it gave me the close magnification along with the minimum focusing distance needed to create the image. Nowadays, I can use my Canon 100-400mm II lens, so my trusty 300mm has been shelved for the most part.
That close-up Frigatebird feather abstract won the “Art in Nature” category in the prestigious Nature's Best Photography Competition-2015. While photographing the feathers I did feel that it was a special image. My group was photographing a young chick that was in the trees keeping dry, by the time any of them came over, the bird flew off. See the image below.
After viewing both images you can kind of see the similarities. There are great differneces too, the first image has a more peaceful, quiet tone while the bright colors of the second image set a much stronger and bolder tone. The flow of the feathers are really important when doing a close-up. Having a willing subject is equally important. I spent time gaining the trust of the Frigatebird in the Galapagos but the Great White Pelican was a very willing, begging bird. Those pelicans hang on the docks looking for fish hand outs and they come right up to you. I was able to capture the full frame shot above very easily, however getting the flow of the feathers just right took several attempts-say at least 30 shots.
I was recently in Greece photographing the Dalmatian Pelicans, they are slightly larger than the White Pelican. We had one of the White Pelicans with beautiful peach colored feathers photo bomb us everyday until it took over the show! The feathers on both of these birds are off the chart special and going in tight for close-ups is always rewarding to me.