Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds - click to enlarge

Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds

Shooting wildlife, and publishing in sepia or black and white can be much more difficult than color. Animals survive by blending into their surroundings.

Selecting the correct photographs with the right amount of shading and distinct subject is the only way I know how to make it work.

Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds - click to enlarge
Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds – click to enlarge

Above is a juvenile Tricolored Heron sitting frozen as I took my shots. As long as I kept moving slowly on the dike the bird was content to hide.

Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds - click to enlarge
Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds – click to enlarge

No hiding, or even being still above. A flock of Wood Storks, numbering in the hundreds would feed, rise up as a group, and move a short distance down the marsh to continue feeding.

Large flocks do this because as they feed they are also driving the fish away to safety. The birds need to catch up to, and drop down in the middle of the moving schools of fish.

Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds - click to enlarge
Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds – click to enlarge

The single Ibis above was just one of hundreds that would drift away from the masses. A photograph of a flock in flight is chaos, I prefer to wait until several separate and move away.

Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds - click to enlarge
Working In Sepia, Marsh Birds – click to enlarge

Last is this solitary Great Blue Heron. The larger Herons seem to avoid areas of the flocks. Solitary by nature I can find them off on the fringe away from the noise.

Everyone of these photographs have something in common, the primary subject is distinct and obvious. I don’t always consider this when working in color. In color I am interested in the story and even hidden subjects can work well.

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