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Point of View

Lesson 9 from: The Art of Photographing Birds

Frans Lanting

Point of View

Lesson 9 from: The Art of Photographing Birds

Frans Lanting

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Lesson Info

9. Point of View

While the bird may be the star of the photograph, the background and foreground matter too. In this lesson, Frans explains how to use perspective to go from snapshots to great bird photos that draw the eye.

Lesson Info

Point of View

You know, we drifted from pure technical considerations into things that arm or aesthetic. And I'm on to show you a couple of images and make some comments about the importance of backgrounds. Because yep, Burt's air so exciting. And you know, the experience of getting close to birds and being surrounded by nature can lead you to focus too myopically on your subject. But backgrounds do matter, and so do four grounds. And here's a set of pictures that proves that point. Here's a little song bird in Hawaii. It's actually quite unique. It's an endangered species that lives only in the Hawaiian Islands. It's ah called any e V and by moving myself, yeah, into a situation where the foreground of that bush where the bird was perched became blurry. It became or interesting. And here's another application. This is a yellow belt stork in Zambia, which I was able to approach quite closely have is only ground, and there were speculum highlights in the border and by keeping the lens wide open, and ...

I was able to turn those speculum highlights into these wonderful circles in the foreground. So instead of having a neutral foreground, I actually made it part of the image. And here's one more example. A river on a trip. We chartered a private yacht, and I'd invited some people to come and join us, and there was a party of 12 of us, and we were able to go ashore in places at seabird colonies. This is a little lock, and the situation was actually it was not that interesting as a landscape. But there were these birds perched on the rocks and by finding a vantage point where I could shoot across the rocks using a wide open aperture, that really noisy landscape became a nice gray blur, and the I still goes towards that bird in the background. Here's another example, a puffin in Scotland in a green landscape. Using a 300 F 28 lens White Open gives you a really smooth foreground than a really smooth background, and one more example. Ah, a pair of courting albatrosses in the Falkland Islands. This is a plane situation of a sitting on one hillside. The birds were on the opposing hillside, and yes, the birds are exciting. They're doing something interesting, but I decided to move a little bit to the right, and that gave me this opportunity to use the tussle grass as a fail to shoot through. And that also allowed me to push the birds to the upper left corner. And now the composition is a bit more playful. It's a little bit more dynamic, and it turned a plane situation into something that it was a bit more intimate, a bit more personalized. I mentioned Vantage point. Vantage point is a physical term. What is the spot from which you're looking at the bird? Now that physical decision is really translating to something that I hope you can articulate for yourself into what is my personal point of view? Um and yeah, those are decisions that I like to make very explicitly. I mentioned early around the monitor videos that the typical scenario for a bird photographer is to move through the landscape five feet off the ground. And I would like to make you think more deliberately. You've heard me talk about getting down low. Ah, I will also show you some pictures of the effective going up high first example getting down low Verena Galapagos silence on one of our photo tours and became upon this nesting, flightless cormorant. The bird is not afraid, so we could be quite close. But but most visitors do is they stand five feet, told they look down on the cormorant. What we did is we flapping ourselves out. And now we have a very nice intimate perspective. Form that bird and that fantastic blue iess more visible. And we kept our apertures right open. So the background is nicely blurt. And in yet another situation at the edge of a waterhole in Namibia, I had parked my car quite close to the water hole. And then I slipped underneath the car and I used the car as a blind in a really unusual fashion. And then an ostrich came to drink. Now you don't often see ostriches from that perspective. And this perspective, this vantage point allay enabled me to show this ostrich with this amazing dinosaur foot. One more example not just getting down low, but in Antarctica. And I worked with those Emperor payments I Before we left for Antarctica, I started thinking about different vantage points to to look at the birds, and I brought a platform along with me and I could climb on top of it and get better overviews of the birds. And without that platform, I would not have been able to make this picture oven adult approaching a crash with chicks and it's looking to find its own chicken, that Millais of young birds. So this may be an extreme application that any time you go out to photograph birds, you're gonna be faced with the same choices. Do I go left? Do I go right? Do I go up or do I get down and think it through? What is the effect you want to achieve? Ultimately, it's about your connection to the bird. Make it personal.

Ratings and Reviews

Carl Bergstrom
 

I was privileged to be in the studio audience for Frans Lanting's Art of Photographing Birds course, and it was amazing. The morning was a perfectly pitched lesson on the technical aspects of bird photography, intermixed with Frans's own photographs and excellent videos of him working in the field. The afternoon focused more on bird behavior, composition, and artistry, and was even more delightful. If you know Lanting's photography you already know about his ability to find unusual perspectives on the world. What really shone through in the class was his love for wildlife and especially for birds. His knowledge of natural history is as amazing as his photography, and I loved the message that to take great photographs of birds, one needs to understand them and their behaviors. I've admired Lanting as a photographer for decades. Today I learned that he is an equally talented teacher. I'll be purchasing all of his CreativeLive courses. Thank you, Carl Bergstrom

Marie Gessle
 

Amazing class! Mr Lanting is charming and full of knowledge about birds and of course photography. In every moment of this course you can see his great passion and love for these flying creatures. The course is full of tips for photographers who want to start capturing moments of birds life. Awesome!!!

André Audet
 

Great class, very inspiring. Packed with great tips and beautiful imagery. Frans is a great instructor. I enjoyed watching this class a lot, and will watch it again!

Student Work