Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Photo-Essay in Blue-Grey, Black and White

[Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Collier Co., FL, December 2012]

This post purports to be nothing more than a wanton indulgence in the visual imagery of the blue-grey gnatcatcher and the black-and-white warbler. Hued in simple yet powerful colors.

Both species were photographed at Corkscrew Swamp where they are commonly seen in season. As in all my photographs, no flash was used; and therefore, natural lighting conditions render each image in the same way that the subject was observed by the naked eye without the assistance of any artificial lighting.

[1] Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher

This species is gregarious and if you see one, you are bound to see a few more. Their presence often heralds the head of a "wave" of birds: warblers, vireos, even flycatchers.

[2] Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher


The black-and-white warbler is an incredibly challenging subject to photograph -- moving quickly across branches and creeping up and down tree trunks, it rarely pauses to permit accurate focus or composition. But when it does, its monochromatic elegance can be stunning.

[3] Black-and-White Warbler

[4] Black-and-White Warbler

[5] Black-and-White Warbler

[6] Black-and-White Warbler

[7] Black-and-White Warbler

[8] Black-and-White Warbler

[9] Black-and-White Warbler

[10] Black-and-White Warbler

I've often wondered how, in the field, it would be possible to frame a bird against a perfectly dark background that would highlight the subject and not distract from the composition. This shot is the closest I've come: the still waters of the swamp serve to form the perfect backdrop. In this shot, the warbler's hyperactive foraging proves successful and an arachnid is swiftly consumed.

[11] Black-and-White Warbler

#11 is my personal favorite; it shows the warbler in an acrobatic pose, characteristic of the species, in the midst of its foraging routine. Which one is yours?

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