Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 19, 2010

White-crowns and Backgrounds

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 3:04 pm
White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

I know – yet another comparison of White-crowned Sparrow images! I just can’t seem to get away from shooting these birds here in AZ. And, yes, these were both taken at the Gilbert Water Ranch – 15 minutes apart on the morning of 02/06/10. On this visit at the Water Ranch I spent 45 minutes or so sitting in one spot along the path hoping to see an unusual wintering Rufous-crowned Sparrow, but it never appeared for me.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

While I sat on the dirt waiting I keep myself busy working the white-crowns. They would usually land on the shrub on the other side of the path before dropping to the ground to feed on small seeds knocked off the shrubs, until somebody would come along the trail and they’d scatter for cover. Once the person had passed by the sparrows would pop out again and drop down to feed.

There were a limited number of branches that worked well for photos: most places the birds landed resulted in too much clutter even for my tastes. These two spots worked out, with similar layout of diagonal branches and mostly non distracting backgrounds. In the top image I’ve used the blue sky as a backdrop, with bits of shrubs far enough away to be blurs to break up the solid blue. In the bottom shot I’ve been able to blur a background shrub to give a nice mottle green background with splotches of purple flowers.

So, look for variations in any locale to see how much variety you can capture. You never know what might work best and it is best to keep your options open.

N ikon D200, 2300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, spot meter. Top image 1/1000 second at f/5.6; bottom image 1/320th second at f/8.

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