Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

January 8, 2010

Northern Mockingbird and Bland Sky

Filed under: Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light — richditch @ 6:33 pm
Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Most bird photographers avoid bland skies, preferring deep blue as their background color. And most of the time I agree with this choice. Usually bland sky is brighter than the subject, looks artificial, and is rather distracting. But I find it difficult to not take photos when I have a good opportunity – even when the sky isn’t ideal.

I met this Northern Mockingbird at the Gilbert Water Ranch on a dreary morning on December 9, 2009. This is one of the resident birds who always appears in the same general spots and who is used to attention from photographers. I couldn’t resist this shot – the direct side view shows the bird to field guide advantage, with no branches or leaves obstructing the view. Plus, I like the strong graphic line of the branch the bird is using as perch. Finally, the gray sky works well with the limited color palette. This could almost be one of the Black-and-white images that were the focus of my photography 30-40 years ago.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/200th second at f/5.6, spot meter (to avoid underexposure from the strong back light).



  1. I love this photo. The Northern Mockingbird is one of my favorite birds. See to view a story about an unusual Mockingbird. Best wishes, Rick

    Comment by Rick C — January 15, 2010 @ 6:59 am

  2. I agree with your assessment on the photo – great angle and the muted tones of the bird meld well with the creamy sky.

    Comment by Bosque Bill — January 16, 2010 @ 9:12 am

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