On Easter Sunday this year, I established a new 2 year running tradition by heading to Surrey to visit Thursley Nature Reserve with a view to finding and photographing the iconic Dartford Warblers! The weather started out cold and misty but after an hour or so came out sunny and warm. A perfect day to be out in nature with my camera and lens.
The blooming yellow gorse bushes that populate large areas of lowland heathland seem a fitting colour palette for a new Easter tradition. I have found that I generally always hear these birds before I see them. One of the best ways to find birds to photograph is to learn how to identify birds using their song/calls. I am a self-confessed rookie in avian sound identification but it is something I am getting better at over time and with more practice.
With the image above, I spotted the Darty singing on a nearby gorse bush and thankfully it was fairly tolerant—ISH! I just had enough time to consider my foreground and reposition myself to get a more interesting composition than just a bird on a bush with a grey sky in the background. Boosting our creativity when it comes to image foreground can go a long way to adding significant interest to an otherwise fairly mundane photograph. It actually takes a fair amount of technical know-how as well in terms of judging the right distance between the camera, the foreground, the subject and the background.
If the foreground is too close to you, all you’ll achieve is blocking your camera’s autofocus capabilities, but if the foreground is too close to the subject, it won’t have the pleasing, out of focus look. I don’t often get the chance to consider foreground because small birds are usually very quick and dart (no pun intended) frequently from here to there. So when I get a cooperative bird, I try to practice and hone my skills. I am always trying to find ways to introduce colour into an image because colour when used well can add so much beauty and interest to images, especially when photography little British brown-jobs. I am often jealous of the brightly coloured warblers that migrate through the Pacific North West in America. A personal favourite and a species that I would love to photograph one day is the Blackburnian warbler—they have exquisite yellow and black markings. One day! (Sighs)