When we say that lighting is key in photography, we mean it. The way you understand and play with your lighting can give a totally different look and add a unique vibe to your images. And this is true not just for photography genres like landscapes or glamour portraits. The same principle applies to all genres of photography including wildlife and bird photography as well. Take for instance the following image of a Eurasian Jay taken by photographer Mikael Persson. While the bird itself is the main subject, it’s the lighting that has totally transformed the image:
Persson shot the image on a Sony A6000 with the Sony 70-350mm lens at f/10, with an exposure of 1/1000 seconds, and ISO 800. It may surprise you that he had to focus manually for this image – the reason being that the camera’s auto-focus was having some difficulty in the circumstance.
If you simply look at the bird, the image is not so striking – it’s mediocre at best. Looking at the stance of the bird, it looks like it’s ready to perch itself on a branch of a tree. It’s a nice moment, but the way the lighting in the scene is interacting with the bird is what takes the image to the next level. The highlights on its wings and hind limbs create a beautiful separation from the background and also give an ethereal look to the image. The warm glow on the background also does a great job in making the bird appear more majestic.
Hats off to the photographer for this fantastic work. It’s phenomenal how he was able to capture this amazing coupling of light and motion.
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