Friday, 24 May 2013

Things to do with Wood Pigeons

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Seeing the extraordinary in the day to day and common place is something that as I get older I think I am becoming better at doing. This is driven I think by two factors, firstly as I get older I think the sum of my life experiences means that how I see the world is perhaps more nuanced than when I was younger. Secondly and perhaps more importantly I am more restricted now in what I can and can't do by the demands of a young family and full on job, all of which means that I now need to get my birding and photographic kicks much more locally and in much smaller windows of time.
The picture at the top of this blog is an old one of a Wood Pigeon taken a few years ago on a day when I had plenty of time and was wending my way along the north Norfolk coast. I took it with a DSLR and a big lens and very nice it is too. But it wasn't the highlight of my day and I didn't set out with this image in mind, I saw it, I grabbed it, and I moved on.

The next image is the first of three that I want to share with you that show how I have adapted what I do and perhaps in the process become more creative and thoughtful about my photography and birding and perhaps as a consequence I am also producing more interesting images. Taken just after the sun had dipped below the horizon, it is of a Wood Pigeon perched on a post, on top of Hunstanton Cliffss looking across The Wash towards Lincolnshire. I live five minutes walk from this location and I'll often take a 20 minute evening stroll along the cliff tops and see visitors taking pictures of some spectacular sunsets.  But for me on there own most sunset images of sky and sea lack a certain something, a something that this Wood Pigeon image has a little of which is to mind a story and some structure and form.

Both this next image and the ones above and below were taken with a rather nice little digital compact camera a Panasonic Lumix TZ30, my digital notebook, a camera I can have with me at all times and whilst not in the same league as a DSLR a piece of kit that does give me a reasonable amount of control and creative options. What I was looking for here was to develop the use of a bird perched up against the sunset or twilight sky. I had thought I might manage to get a Blackbird, Dunnock or Whitethroat singing and silhoutted in the dusk but on this occasion they didn't play ball. But this Wood Pigeon did.

And this is probably my favourite image of the many that I shot in a ten minute period that evening. I have some where the Pigeon is well exposed but the sunset is then over exposed and a silvery burnt out nothingness. For this image I under exposed to silhouette the bird and used the cameras Sunset fucntion to give it a bit of orange boost. The result I think is quite a dynamic shot which on my Flickr page I christened Wood Pigeon of the Apolcalypse.

Wood pigeons are not in that top drawer of wildlife subjects that get people like me excited, Red Squirrels and Otters for example, but they are common place, and often tame and that means despite the fact that they are wild birds you can start to be creative with them and make images that stand out a little from the crowd.

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