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Photographic Style

Without intending to sound pretentious, my style is based on a reverence for life and and an awe for the beauty that surrounds me. Thus, most of my pictures include the complete subject in their natural environment, preferably animated, with attention to details like feather textures and colors, foreground and background clutter, and cropped considering  logical placement, diagonals and the rule of thirds, where appropriate.
 
American Kestrel I try to fill the frame with the subject to get as much detail as possible. True, as in this picture, it's possible to crop out a useable picture from a subject shot at too great a distance, particularly with a 12 mega pixel camera. But picture quality suffers.
Two Mottled Dick Ducklings With rare exception, all of my wildlife pictures show the eye(s) of the subject. Furthermore, the eye is my point of focus. And finally, I try to compose my shots so that the light reflects off of the eye to create a glint or catch light.
Blue Teal Basking in Sun I rarely take pictures with only a part of subject e.g. a bird with no tail or a head crop. In fact, I'm such a stickler on this point that I even leave room for legs that may not be visible because they are in the weeds or underwater. Nor are you likely to see partial pictures of extraneous subjects in the edges of my pictures ... for me it's all or nothing ... that's the way God made them and that's how I choose to show them.
 
A Black-Necked Stilt And if the subject has a shadow, or a reflection in the water, I include the complete shadow and/or reflection in keeping with my all or nothing style.
 
I rarely take pictures of a bird on a telephone wire, or an alligator crossing a road, or even a picture of a bird with a house in the background. That's just not my style. No picture available :)
Mocking Bird on Branch I strive for a clean shot with no sticks in front of the subject or immediately behind it to clutter up the view of the subject. Often, when I see a shot I like, I take a shot just to get something and then position myself relative to the subject to get the foreground and background composition that I really want.
Snowy Egret Landing While I do take pictures of birds etc. just standing there, I greatly prefer pictures where they are doing something like hunting/catching/eating or preening or flying or wading with a leg up indicating movement.
Great Egret Preening I just love textures and colors. Like a birds feathers fluffing up in a breeze or the fine mating feathers of a Great Egret or a bird's reflection in the water. God's creatures are so beautiful and with today's camera technology it's possible to capture and convey much of this beauty ... the beauty is in the details.
An Orchid For close-ups of flowers, I look for shots that do not have any clutter within the first foot or two of the background. And to get pictures with a dark background, I shoot at F22 and 1/250 to 1/500 sec. with my R1C1 ring flash.
Double-Crested Cormorant I like to follow traditional "rules" of composition and make good use of subject placement (particularly the eye), logical placement e.g. subject facing into the picture with room to move in the direction of travel, diagonals, and the rule of thirds to make the picture interesting and fun to explore. Picture of Double-Crested Cormorant featuring use of diagonals.

Is this the only style one should consider for wildlife photography? Of course not! But I do believe that photographers should have a style that they are consciously aware of. Stated another way, I think good photography requires more than just taking pictures of what one sees and then trying to make something out of them in Photoshop. For more information on style, Google "photographic style", there is a lot written on the subject.

  

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