During a recent visit to Bird Kingdom I was reminded of the importance of bird photography backgrounds. While we often do not have many options when photographing in the wild, shooting at captive venues provides us with a lot more latitude.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Even at captive facilities such as Bird Kingdom we can still be challenged by busy and distracting backgrounds. When faced with that situation I often look for angles where the background pallet will be in the same colour spectrum. This can help separate the subject from the background.
Another approach is to look for high contrast situations where a darker subject is up against a lighter background. This can be effective even when the background is busy.
The reverse situation can also work well, a lighter subject up against a darker background.
My preference, whenever I can find it, is to frame my subject against a smooth looking background as you’ll see in the following series of images. This can help create clear subject separation from the background and add some drama to the composition.
Sometimes you can find a background that can actually help direct a viewer’s eye to the main subject. This is demonstrated by the darker lines in the background of the following image, directing a viewer’s eye to the duck’s beak.
There are times when you simply have to do the best you can with a potentially distracting background as was the case with the following image.
In this specific situation I tried to use the dark section of the curve of the tree trunk in the background to create some contrast with the bird’s head. This helps put some emphasis on the bird’s eye.
It is always a creative experience when photographing birds. Taking a few moments to consider the bird photography backgrounds in your compositions can enhance their visual appeal.
All photographs were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. Images were created from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6, and the Nik Collection.
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