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Yellow-rumped Warbler in Banff

A male Audubons Warbler watches for flying insects from his perch on a freshly budding willow sapling overhanging a small creek in Banff National Park, Alberta.

Yel­low-rumped War­bler on bud­ding wil­low

I don’t nor­mal­ly pho­to­graph much wildlife (I don’t have the long lens­es and patience usu­al­ly required), but I couldn’t resist this lit­tle bird (a Yel­low-rumped (or Audubon’s) War­bler) that I watched feed­ing along a small moun­tain stream for near­ly a half hour. It was very ear­ly in the sea­son and there had been a lit­tle snow overnight so the air was cool and damp, and the insects this bird was after were mov­ing real­ly slow­ly. He would perch on these wil­low saplings over the creek, turn­ing his head to watch and then dart out to grab his meal from the air or the under­side of a new leaf. It was a lot of fun to watch, and—employing the time hon­oured, fine-art, “shot­gun” approach to composition—I filled up a good por­tion of my mem­o­ry card try­ing to get just the right shot.

I know this pho­to­graph breaks a cou­ple “gold­en rules” of composition—you’re not sup­posed to cen­tre your sub­ject (rule of thirds) or have the sub­ject look­ing out of (rather than into) the frame. But I think it works this way (I even cropped in a lit­tle from a more “tra­di­tion­al­ly” framed shot). I think the shad­owed area in the top-left bal­ances the light, emp­ty area at the bot­tom, and for me, the bird’s out-of-frame gaze gives a bit of the feel­ing that he’s just about to leave the frame him­self (which in fact he did). Let me know what you think—just click below to add your thoughts. Thanks!

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