Yawning Pelicanby: © Alma Jones
was shooting pelicans sleeping when this guy woke up, stood up and starting yawning. I just started shooting and got this special one.
Lens: Zoom: Variable focal
Exposure time: 1/800 ,
Reviewed by GuruShots Pro
As a full-time freelance outdoor photographer and writer, my work has been published in National Geographic calendar...
You’re off to a good start with nice lighting, a fun moment, and a good perspective. Just a few adjustments with the composition and focus point could improve the photo.
Capturing a “decisive moment” with wildlife takes a lot of patience. Great job being ready to photograph when a fun moment hit with this pelican! I only wish it filled more of the frame so the viewer could be more engaged with this moment.
The eye level perspective captured is great, an excellent way to get more intimate with our wildlife subjects. However, the pelican is centered and facing head on, which feels static. Also, the white shoreline creates a static horizontal line cutting across the frame. Taking a step to the left or right would have enabled a more diagonal line of the shoreline and of the pelican itself (namely it’s vertical mouth), and therefore a more dynamic feeling composition. Also, repositioning would have allowed for a cleaner background. The people and buoy’s in the background serve as a distraction away from the main subject. If the yawn/mouth is indeed the primary subject, fill the entire frame with the pelican’s head, and remove all the other extraneous elements.
Use of camera,
The aperture setting allows for a broad enough depth of field for this subject matter, but ISO 800 seems a little too fast given the bright lighting conditions and the slower moving subject matter. An ISO 200 or 400 would have likely allowed a similar capture, but without the unnecessary noise of the higher ISO settings. The exposure overall, however, looks good, as we see good detail in the shadow and no overly bright spots in the frame.
A more precise focus point on the pelican's eye and a wider aperture (e.g. f/4 or f/5.6) resulting in a shorter depth of field might have blurred the background enough to make the people and buoys unrecognizable.
The side light helps to create shape in your subject. There’s also a touch of catch-light in the pelican’s right eye (on viewer’s left side), which helps puts a little more “life” in the wildlife. The darker blue water helps the illuminated pelican stand out in the photo.
The focus point appears to be on the pelican’s chest. Though most of its mouth and the foreground are in focus, the eye – the most critical part of a wildlife image – appears a little soft.
How to improve your photo
Look for a clean background free from bright objects and elements unrelated to your subject. Position your subject matter in the intersection points of the Rule of Thirds tic-tac-toe grid.
Work the scene before, during, and after “the” moment. Move around your subject quickly to capture a variety of angles. Rarely does it take only one click to capture “the” shot.
Use the auto-focus selector/sensor capability to move the auto-focus point out of the center of the frame (the arrows surrounding the OK button on the back of your camera). Consider experimenting with the 3D-tracking AF area mode to help keep moving subjects like wildlife in focus.
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As a full-time freelance outdoor photographer and writer, my work has been published in National Geographic calendars, Arizona Highways, Outdoor Photographer, AAA Highroads, AAA VIA, Outdoor Photographer, Smith-Southwestern calendars, and a broad variety of other publications. I've written and...
Nature, Adventure, Artistic
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