Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I found your trilling quite thrilling, my dear blackbird

The park by our house has a little marsh in it and it's already full of frogs and red-winged blackbirds - especially their chatter. Last week we went for a walk and I kicked myself for not bringing the camera, but I often don't make the same mistake twice. Fairly often.

Here's a shot of a trilling red-winged blackbird. Of course, you know what he's saying, "Baby, you know I'm the man for you! I'll be sweet and bring you breakfast in nest!"

Trilling red-winged blackbird. ISO 200, 200mm, f/5.6, 1/200 sec
Sillyness aside, he gave me a great pose and I'm really happy I caught him in his moment. I worked pretty hard to get a good background, as there are houses in several directions and mostly leafless trees. It's nothing remarkable beyond the subject, but at least it isn't distracting. I could be in the Horicon Marsh for all you could tell :)

As to the shot, this was fully zoomed at 400mm equivalent, which I needed as he flew away when I got closer. This is cropped to about 1/3 of the original size, but it would have been preferable to be closer and not have to max out the focal length as this lens has a bit of chromatic aberration at this limit (zoom way in and you can see it by his feet at tail where the white and black contrast). With that said, who cares! I love that I caught the moment and for the brilliance of his plumage on this spring evening.

Update - added a new crop based on some good advice by Sam

Crop #2


Samantha said...

Another nice one! Before I even read the part about the background, I'd appreciated how it is out of focus, to allow more attention to the bird. A nice shallow depth of field that blurs the background normally helps when you are struggling to find a good background (though in the end it seems to found a leafy tree anyway). Now, about those branches in the upper right! I'm not fond of those. Even the sky is a bit distracting, but that's getting nit-picky now :-) And then, a personal choice thing--I notice that you have the bird's eye at a good rule-of-3rds location, but I may have tried to frame the bird with 2/3rds of the frame to the left rather than the right in this case... I like to give my subjects some space to "look into" in a photo. But sometimes it works to have them look "out of" the frame, leaving the viewer to wonder what the subject is looking at.

If you'd like me to stop at "nice photo" next time, I will try to silence the critic in me... just say the word :-)

Alex B Atterbury said...

Much appreciated Sam, and it's cool that you are reading these.

Advice taken!

Samantha said...

I just saw the update--cool! Thanks for trying it. I see you managed to put the bird's eye at about the 1/3 mark after all, even though you shifted the frame so much. I think it's definitely improved with the removal of the extra branches. I'm not sure my suggestion of the placement of the bird in the frame made as big a difference as I thought it would, now that I see them side-by-side. But, worth the effort to try it.