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Posts Tagged ‘silhouette’

I suspected that this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge would be silhouetted because I was shooting into the light. I was going to make some adjustments to my camera settings, but it took off before I could do so and I captured a cool series of images.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

I liked the way that a few details of the feathers were visible in the images and the pink and blue streaks in the background were a nice touch. I decided, however, to play around with one of the images and opened the second shot in SIlver Efex Pro 2, a black and white conversion software program that is part of the Nik Collection.

One of the filters turned the heron into a completely black silhouette—with some birds, identification would be a problem, but the shape of the heron is unmistakable here. Another filter created the effect of a pinhole camera and you can see the result in the final images. There is something about that final image that really appeals to me.

I tend to strive for realism in my photos and normally do only a minimal amount of post-processing. I had so much fun, though, playing around with the different effects you can achieve with software that I suspect I will consider doing so again in the future.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Late in the afternoon I was walking along a stream when I suddenly heard some splashing at the edge of the water. Full of curiosity I peered though the bushes to see what was going on. I was looking almost directly into the sun, so all I could see was the silhouette of a bird that was bathing in the shallow water. I knew that I would not be able to capture the details of the bird, but what I really wanted to do was to capture the mood of that intimate moment.

I hesitated a little to post this image, because its flaws are evident, but somehow it speaks to me emotionally through its simple color palette, through the shadowy unidentified bird, and through the concentric ripples in the water. My usual rule of thumb is to post the images that I like, so here it is. I realize that my views of the image are really subjective and are tied to my memories of the moment—you had to be there.

bird bath

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Whenever I am at my local marsh at sunset, I am alert for ducks and geese in the air. I have a goal of catching them in silhouette against the backdrop of the colorful sky. I still haven’t gotten the shot I am looking for, but here is one of my recent attempts.

duck_sunset_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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My ears told me before my eyed did that some Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) had returned to my local marshland park. I heard the very distinctive song of the blackbird last summer and fall often enough that it’s embedded in my brain. I am working on a couple of photos of blackbirds on cattails, but thought I’d share this image first.

It’s sort of a silhouette, but the red and yellow portion of the wing are very visible, so it’s probably not a true silhouette. There is something simple and graphic about the image that I like, even though normally important details like the eyes are not visible.

blackbird3_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The skies were dark and overcast early this afternoon as we awaited the hurricane that was likely to bring rains and winds, though we are probably not directly in its path. The birds in my neighborhood were unusually active, so I decided to try to take some photographs of them. With few exceptions, my photos turned out to be silhouettes, because the existing light was too weak to illuminate the birds against the backdrop of the sky. I like the effect, however, and decided to post some of these silhouettes. The first one, my favorite, was a shot in which the bird started to take off just as I pressed the shutter and I like the result better than if I had captured him on the branch. Some of the other images show birds in flight or in action. Somehow they seems appropriate for a stormy day (and I can hear the wind and the rain outside as I write this entry).

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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In the autumn, rural areas in New England are often invaded by hordes of city dwellers anxious to see the spectacular fall foliage. Locals frequently refer (often derisively) to these outsiders as “leaf peepers.” Still, it’s hard to ignore the beauty of the changing leaves, and the Northern Cardinal in this photo appears to have paused for a moment to admire the scenery. Apparently birds can be leaf peepers too.

Northern Cardinal checks out the fall foliage

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I was out with my camera early this morning, when the ground fog still hung over the cattails in the marsh. The red-winged blackbirds were active and I managed to get this shot. It’s almost a silhouette, yet it retains some surface detail. I love the bird’s open mouth as he utters a loud cry. The elements all seem to work together to create an atmosphere of early morning mystery.

Early morning blackbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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