Friday, October 18, 2013

Barnyard Views

Ernie on Alert
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
Animals make wonderful subjects for photography with their quirky actions and curiosity. But, they also provide a lot of challenge to get quality images, capturing their essence.  I had an opportunity recently to practice in our neighbor's barnyard with a variety of her animals.

Ernie is a sweetheart, but very curious. He wanted to know what I was doing, and kept working his way closer to me. It took several tries to get enough distance for a good image and colorful background. And he really want to sniff the camera lens.

Brown bunny and chickens in the barn yard
Say, You're Not a Chicken
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith

calico cat sitting in the sun
Enjoying the Sun
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
The birds and bunnies posed other challenges; they move, a lot. The first thing I learned is it really helps to get down to their level for clean, crisp images. Practice patience and quietness, and be willing to take a lot shots to get one or two excellent ones. During a recent workshop the speaker discussed the "circle of awareness" when photographing animals; the animal knows you're there but doesn't feel threatened. This was quite evident in photographing the bunny. He was acutely aware of a stranger's presence, but felt sufficiently comfortable to continue grazing. I think he was more concerned about the rooster than the human.

For the barnyard adventure, I used an 18-55mm lens without any flash and under-exposed slightly to bring out the autumn colors. Photos were taken hand-held.

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