Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windy day experiment.

The wind kicked up this afternoon, pushing out the rain of this morning. The high thirty to forty mile per hour winds coming out of the south created fast moving, billowing clouds that were drifting in the light. But what caught my eye were the sea gulls skillfully mastering the gusts.

Gulls congregate on the leeward side of Tenpound Island and soar over the island like bees.(c)2008 ShootingMyUniverse

This presented a challenge, what are the possibilities? The gulls were not well lit by the setting sun, but with digital photography, I could experiment and it wouldn’t cost me a cent.

A compromise between detail of the bird and washing out the clouds.(c)2008 ShootingMyUniverse

What I was interested in was just practicing. What are the capabilities of the camera? How well will the camera follow the gulls? Will it capture the broad range of luminosities? How will the composition look? This simple experiment would have cost me about $45 in slide film and processing and the results would be sitting in the landfill next week. With digital, I could shoot 120 frames, go over to the computer and delete the 90 percent of the frame that I know will be bad. These conditions are tough, but I can take the shots and test the capabilities.

The low setting sun under lights a banking gull showing detail and good cloud color. (c)2008 ShootingMyUniverse

None of the above photos are that spectacular, their importance is in the experience gained. With the sun setting low, the underside of the birds can be illuminated. This prevents silhouetting. Over expose to detail the birds and you wash out the clouds. So you may have to compromise and decide what your image is all about. Is it colorful clouds accented by a bird or is it a bird with a colored cloud background?

This photo shows the billowing, swirling clouds with good color.  I want the birds in silhouette to add some depth and interest. (c)2008 ShootingMyUniverse

5 comments:

John Theberge said...

Great set of photos, especially that last one!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You really captured these well Steve. I love the colors in them too.

Eve said...

A great experiment and lessons learned! Free, free, free, well after you pay for the camera, card, batteries, and computer!!! YEAH! But after that free, free, free!!!

EasyDiverChris said...

I like the closeup of the gull best because it almost looks like the aft edges of his wings are transparent. Maybe it's just the way the light is hitting him, but his "flaps" are shining.

Great photos.

Thanks for sharing them.

Steve B said...

Yes John, I like the last one best too.

Eve is right, nothing is free. I used to be a software developer, so the computer is the same machine that I bought in 2002...eek. When I bought it, I thought, 80GB! I'll never fill that! I just bought a hard drive because I have only 8GB lift.

Yes, Chris, I wanted to show an example of shooting for the birds and shooting for the sky. I think the illusion of the transparent wings is from a minor flight correction mid exposure. I think it's cool too!

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