Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

January 18, 2009

Bird on a Stick

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, style — richditch @ 7:34 pm
Anna's Hummingbird on a stick

Anna's Hummingbird on a stick

I discussed a bit about personal style earlier this month, and promised I’d cover other styles in later posts. So, here’s another style that I seldom do but that is very popular. It is known by many as BOAS for Bird-on-a-stick. It is characterized by a minimum of compositional elements: the bird, and the perch. The background is usually a single color, although sometimes a color gradient is used. Light direction os often frontal (i.e. “point your shadow at the bird”). For  a lot of bird photographers this style is the gold standard, and it is often obtained through carefully constructed set-ups with selected perches placed for the background and light direction, and with the bird baited to the perch with food or water or a taped call playback. Less often, as with this image taken at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, a bird uses a natural perch and the background and light work out on their own. I’ve already stated my discomfort at the overly controlled nature of set ups, so I limit my use of this style to the infrequent random encounters I have that work out that way.

Anna's Hummingbird with background habitat

Anna's Hummingbird with background habitat

For comparison, here’s another Anna’s from the Water Ranch, also on a stick. This is my preferred style, with the bird smaller in the frame, some natural habitat, and the colors a bit understated.

I’m not saying that one style is better than the other. Nor am I saying that anyone should shoot in only one style and avoid the other. It is really a matter of personal taste.


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