American Kestrel

American Kestrel.
 
This is a male American Kestrel I photographed at the Outdoor Discovery Center last week in Holland, Michigan. I wanted to discuss two things relating to not only this image but many others. First, it is a captive animal in a center and can not be released into the wild. Birds in a center will often have jesses, the leather straps on their legs, don’t be dishonest and try to remove them and try to pass the bird as a wild bird. Quoting my friend Andre, “don’t lie”, just show the bird as it is. There is nothing wrong with photographing birds in a center. It teaches you how to apply things that you are learning when you do get out in the “wild” and are shooting the birds in their own environment. Plus it is a chance to just get a great image of a beautiful bird!
 
Secondly, I see birds like this or even in the wild cropped really tight in the image. I think back on one of the many lessons that John Shaw taught me, and that was to leave room in the image around the subject. He used to joke, “if you can’t make it good, make it big”. This really resonates with me because I like to get tight on the bird, but only when it shows perfect detail. Filling the frame with a subject to make up for sharpness or movement works against the photographer. In addition, you are killing any chance you have of marketing the image in either digital or print form. If it is too tight and you are making a print, often you will end up clipping part of the bird. Leave space, you don’t always have to fill the frame with the bird or any singular subject like in macro work as well. I think the background adds so much to the image.
 
Tamron 18-400mm Di-II VC HLD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 900, shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, Sirui EP204S monopod and K30X ballhead, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13 Sling Bag, processed in Lightroom CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear
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