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I’ve been an active photographer for over 60 years and a passionate photographer of wildlife for the past decade. As the years roll by I have become more and more interested in making images that aren’t “ordinary,” if you define that term as meaning images made in standard lighting. More and more, I look for subjects that are side-lit or back-lit. That makes for dramatic effects although photographing under such conditions presents real challenges to the photographer, especially in determining exposure settings and in processing the images.
Today, I’m featuring an example of the type of photograph that I’ve been striving for of late. This is a pair of Lark Sparrows that I photographed a few weeks ago.
I came across these sparrows early one morning during a drive through farmlands. The sun was still very low and was coming from nearly a 90-degree angle to my subjects. In a situation like this, part of the birds will be in very intense sunlight and the remainder in deep shade. That presents a dilemma — what do I expose for, the brightly lit parts or the parts that are in shadow? It was pretty much a no brainer on this occasion. I decided to expose for the foreground sparrow’s face and breast. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result, which I think is super dramatic. Just what I was hoping for!
Image made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 320, f5.6 @ 1/2000.