Wading Birds to create interest in Photography scene

Willet, winter, Clam Bayou, Gulfport, Fl ©There was a time when just capturing a sharp image of a bird was my objective. But they can also be used to add interest to an otherwise mundane scene.

This little guy is a Willet, in the sandpiper family, found from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. He was hopping around an oyster bed on the edge of the Boca Ciega Bay near an area known as Clam Bayou adjoining the small town of Gulfport FL.

Because I couldn’t get a tight enough Image with my 200mm lens, I opted to make a mini landscape scene instead and use the Willet to provide some interest. Shooting into the sun gave me a silhouette,  maybe even more striking than having a scene with too much in it.

This could have been any shore bird. My presence didn’t bother him as he was busy feeding. Using f/11 aperture setting provided enough depth of field to make sure everything was in focus. Shutter speed was 1/320 sec with ISO 125 at 10:27AM, Dec 30, 2017.

If wondering about the details, no notes were taken, but with the help of our digital technology, it all gets recorded in the Meta Data. That’s also a good place to include our name and copyright information. Is this great or what.

At the time I didn’t know the specie. My take is that conveying the moment is more important sometimes. I later looked it up in my Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds. The Willet can be found in both salt and fresh water.

Additional Comments

What I find almost more interesting than the above discussion, is the change in my approach to my work. It has been over 18 years since working in Florida. Since that time I have grown. I am now looking at compositions differently, with more of an eye to setting up images to better communicate to the viewer. That is the big surprise to me! It is also refreshing! Before, I would think, “Oh I have plenty of those subjects.”

I think we must continue to see things differently – to change with new material. I’m glad to see it in myself. The image above is certainly one that can also be presented differently. It could have been cropped differently. If cropped to make the Willet about 1/3 the size of the frame, the Willet would become the center of influence with the water and oyster beds informing us of the general location. By leaving the Willet smaller, we created a small landscape of the water and oyster beds with Willet just a part of the overall scene.

Thanks for listening. Hope this adds something of value for you…

Have a great day,

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