Here is my latest edition of "Adventures in Photography" as it will appear in the Freebird Times.
Adventures in Photography: A Songbird Among the Lupine
Every year I get excited about photographing lupine. They are one of my favorite flowers. When I first start to photograph them, I often photograph only the flowers. I will focus on them as large clusters of color and then work my way to the minute details of individual petals. Eventually, I will try a variety of “painting” techniques such as zooming and swiping, using slow shutter speeds to create impressionistic views of these colorful flowers.
After running through my initial excitement of seeing, smelling and photographing the lupine, I start to look for images that include the lupine, but use them as background or foreground elements. Many of my favorite lupine images have come from finding a subject other than the lupine. This image of a sparrow eating a green worm while perched on a lupine is a perfect example of this type of image.
I was in one of my favorite lupine fields in Sugar Hill, NH at sunset, enjoying the beautiful light of the golden hour when I noticed a number of small birds hunting among the lupine. Goldfinches, bluebirds, and sparrows were diving in and out of the flowers looking for an evening meal. The goldfinches and bluebirds stayed quite a distance from me, but the sparrows didn’t seem to mind my presence.
One sparrow in particular was flying from lupine to lupine in an established circuit. I was able to predict its movement and patiently waited for it to fly into my composition. After observing this sparrow for more than twenty minutes, it captured a small green worm. The sparrow then proceeded to fly from lupine to lupine on its circuit while calling out. I am not sure if it was calling to its fledgling chicks or if it was bragging about its catch. After five minutes of flying from flower to flower, it finally ate the worm.
Most people, myself included, don’t get too excited about sparrows. However, a sparrow perched on a lupine is an excellent capture. Add the worm and the image now has become quite interesting.
Finding ways to add interest to your images is essential for improving as a photographer. I can hardly wait to include this image in my next bird photography workshop!
This Month’s Tip: While most of the very best images are made by local photographers on their home turf, it is definitely worth your time and money to seek out areas that offer exceptional photographic opportunities.
There are numerous festivals and locations throughout New England that can be absolutely stunning at the right time of year. New England in the fall is a premier destination for landscape photographers. The harbor villages of Maine, dairy farms in Vermont, apple orchards in the spring and the fall, the Fields of Lupine Festival in Franconia, NH, moose alley in Pittsburg, NH, the South County Hot Air Balloon Festival in Kingstown, RI and the Op Sail 2012 event in Boston and New London, CT are just a few places that are within a day’s ride, where you can maximize your photographic opportunities.
Greg Lessard is a professional photographer. You can join him this fall in Acadia National Park by calling the Mass Audubon at 781 837 9400.