Saturday, February 1, 2020

Small Touches Make a Difference

I am still enthralled with all the sights and sounds of my December trip to Antarctica, and penguins top the list of appealing subjects. They are gawky and comical on land, but sleek and elegant in the water.

This Gentoo penguin had been fishing and was just returning to the nesting area. While this is a simple, basic shot, several things help elevate it to a higher level.

First, the composition. The penguin is nicely separated from the background. The color of the water, along with the horizontal ripples, are a nice counterpoint to the smooth black and white body. And the slant of the rock creates an oblique angle which is an added element of visual interest. Also, the hint of a reflection adds a sense of depth.

Next, there are several small details that help this image. There is a sense of motion created by his foot being raised, ready to step on the rock. And because he was just exiting the water you can see water droplets on his head and bill if you look closely.

Finally, the color contrast between the cool tones of the water and the warm tones of his bill and foot are the finishing touches.

So the big question is - did I have any control over these elements? Clearly the answer is "no." BUT we always have a choice regarding which images stand out above the rest. If you look for small details in each image that sets it apart from others, and determine whether the composition is appealing, you will be able to find the images that stand out from all the hundreds or thousands you shoot. And to maximize your options, it is best to shoot a lot of images of each subject from different angles.

1/1600 sec at f/8, ISO 800. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens set at 100mm, on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "No photographer, no matter how talented or trained, has a 100% success rate. If you take 1000 images that result in 50 good ones, consider that a great success."  --Mollie Isaacs

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