Photo Essay

The Birds in MacArthur Park, pt. II

Stretching Our Wings

Long lenses are wonderful for shooting wildlife, especially birds. There are long lenses and there are long lenses. For this project, I had the chance of trying the Canon 70-200mm lens, on my 7D camera. But this time, with an f-stop of 2.8, with two types of image stabilizer. This lens is quite bulky and a little heavy. It takes a while to get used to carrying such amount of weight. Some pictures in the beginning may look blurry, so, be patient. And please do not forget to set the image stabilizer on. Some people don't seem to see it when you begin, but later you'll recognize that it does help keeping the pixels together. And this is very important, because if a picture is not taken correctly, not even color correction will save it. This is a tip that all photography beginners must understand.

Before doing anything big, I put this lens on the test and arrived again in MacArthur Park. I decided to work with the freeze shots as usual. This time I wanted to work more with the ducks, and have fun with the seagulls later. This time getting closer and shooting everyday moments of the birds present, but with more detail. I also experimented with spontaneous shots, which most of the time are hard to be found. Birds especially, require tons of observation. As animals, are quite spontaneous and territorial. And of course, they expect you to feed them. It can get cold in Los Angeles. But, some birds do take advantage of a beautiful sunny day, to take a splash on a lake. Same thing happens to me, but, with the only exception that I used the sunlight to shot the birds.

Water and birds make an excellent combination for a composition. The flapping of their wings, eating, their interaction with water, are some of the many things they can do. For this kind of options, you have to ready. As mentioned before, your camera has to be set in a high shutter speed mode. One the many things that captures the attention of many photographers, while shooting birds, is the color of the feathers. But when the colors combine with water on top of the feathers, or droplets coming out of their beaks, helps and gives more beauty to the composition. A picture of a duck, can be a picture of a duck. But, a picture of a duck with water flowing and splashing over and near its body, is another totally different story. It also gives a precision plus to the composition, thus, making it look more professional. This is the part where the image stabilizer plays it role, in keeping those pixels together on those beautiful aesthetic events. And when you are shooting with a lens, which glasses are made from fluorite glass, it does make a difference; not only in the colors, but especially in the quality.

Ducks are fun. I do say that a lake with ducks, geese and seagulls is much more interesting. Ducks may look gentle, but don't let geese fool you. Geese bite harder, which tells you to be patient and to try harder. And don't forget to feed the seagulls. I was committed to the task of shooting bird moments, as we can see them in National Geographic magazine. Believe me, the fluorite glass does make a difference. At the end of the day, these are the pictures you want your camera to take. And of course, the pictures you want the world to admire and value.

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Hi there!

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—The JPG team

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