Yellow-rumped Warbler on budding willow
I’ve always liked this photograph, and the memory of the day that I took it (which often confounds a photographer’s ability to tell if a photo’s any good or not). I’ve even written a post about this image before (which you can read here). Even so, I’ve never printed it, so I figured this Daily Print project was just the excuse I needed.
Bonus questions for this post: +1 point if you can tell me the sex of the bird, +5 points for the subspecies, and +50 points if you can tell me the age (hint: click the image to view it full size, and remember that this photo was taken in May…)
Spring storm over Devona Flats
I recently had the chance to get away for a few days, and had the pleasure of being able to do some photography in Jasper National Park. The day that I took this photograph started out clear and sunny, and as the day went along these large clouds spilled out of the Athabasca River Valley to the west, coming east towards Pochahontas where I was staying. And while the clouds made it less appealing to sit out on the deck in the afternoon, they sure made for much more dramatic photographs later in the evening — well worth the trade-off.
I really like the contrast in this image of the heavy, wet sky and the falling rain streaking down — contrasted with the dry river flats still awaiting the melt of higher elevation snow and the start of spring and summer weather patterns.
Glowing dogwood behind bare aspen saplings
Another sunset photograph taken while doing owl surveys, this one was taken on a clear evening which made for less interesting skies as the previous night but allowed for more predictably progressing, steady light on the ground.
This time of year, my eyes ache for colour after the long winter and the red-osier dogwood shrubs are often the first real glimpses of spring colour as they flush red in the very early spring — even before the snow has melted. In this image, I like how the intense red of the willows in the last, warm rays of sunlight contrast with the cool blues of the aspen saplings that are already in the evening’s shadow.
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!
Bright morning after rain
I’m slowly working my way to a major update/revision of my galleries (which, I apologize, have not been updated in a long time), and part of that process is a ruthless editing-down of my collection to best showcase my favourite images. Unfortunately, that sometimes means leaving out ones that I really like, and this image is an example of that. While it’s currently in my “Summer 2007″ gallery, and I like it at least as well as some of the ones that “made the cut”, it just didn’t fit with the other selections. So, I decided to post in the journal here instead, where hopefully it can still be enjoyed all on it’s own.
I made this photograph between Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg, Alberta in early June 2007. It had rained heavily the night before, and the branches and lichens in this dense black spruce stand were dripping wet as the sun came up. Each drop acts like a tiny prism, catching the light of the low sun. When the lens is de-focused as I did here, each specular highlight becomes a glowing circle of light, each with a slightly different colour depending on the angle. I know my blurry, out-of-focus work is not everyone’s cup of tea, but in this case I think it really made for an interesting image (I’ve included a “straight” shot of the same stand below for interest’s sake), and it’s also a great example of how the optics in a lens can create effects “in the field” that are unattainable using post-processing software (i.e. Photoshop). I’d love to hear your reactions to this image, just click below…
Bright morning after rain – in focus