Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Than a Portrait

When I first began to look at bird photography many years ago, I noticed that, for the most part, bird photographers were all about creating bird portraits. The focus was clear on snapping a picture of a bird as close as one could get and filling the frame with the bird. These are the kind of photographs we still see today in bird identification books. They provide us with a good intensive study of the shape and color of a particular species. They are, however, pretty boring photos. They do nothing to stimulate the senses, and they rarely have the "Wow factor."

Although the vast majority of my work has been with birds, I like to think of my photos as landscapes rather than portraits. In most of my photos I ask the question of the viewer, "Is this a photo of a bird or is it more a study of the habitat?" While I love to capture a beautiful bird, I almost never want the bird to be the focus of the photo. Yes, the bird is certainly a critical part of the photograph, but he is just that.......a part of the photo. I never want the bird to be the photo. I very much like the viewer to scan the photo in its' entirity, looking at all of the photo and then gettng the "Wow factor."

The photographs that tend to blow us away have interest in many areas of the image. They give us a story, and they ask us questions. "Is this a bird photo or am I looking at something much more?"

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