I have recently attended a workshop on ‘North Norfolk Bird Photography’ run by Chris Gomersall. I have been on a number of these events and others run by Chris over the years and it has been interesting to see his most recent book (see Gomersall (2012)) referred to by students in the OCA photography forum as an excellent creative text. The opportunities on these course are largely dictated by events as all subjects are wild have to be found before they can by photographed – at times not easy, depending on weather, tides and dog walkers ..Chris emphasises the creative aspects of photography, encouraging capture of the environment of the birds rather than exclusively focussing on an image of the bird alone. A number of opportunities arose during the week to explore images with the subjects in their environment, my favourite of which is shown below. This is a pair of avocets resting on the salt marsh just as the sun made a very brief appearance through the black thunder clouds which were with us all week. The subjects are small in the frame, but their identity is still clear (if you know about birds!) and it makes a change to more ‘classic’ bird photographic portraiture which otherwise would look like the second image below, which is a preening avocet taken from a much closer distance. Both photographs were taken with a 500mm f/4 lens carrying a 1.4x teleconverter (so an overall focal length of 720mm) on a Canon 1D MkIV body which has a crop factor of 1.3, but obviously at very different distances.
Other images from this workshop will shortly appear on Dave Bartlett Bird Photography.