Showing some leg

After two long posts featuring panorama and cropping techniques, today a short post featuring long legs.

Now you have to admit, that’s a lot of leg! What you see is four foraging Black-necked Stilts. Relative to their body, their legs are extremely long and only topped by flamingos, so their name fits them rather well. The two in the front are males and the two in the back, with the more brownish mantle, females.

The Black-necked Stilt is usually found in the shallow waters of mudflats, estuaries, lakes and other types of wetlands. There it feeds on vertebrates and small fish that live in and on the soft substrate. As with many so-called shorebirds, the long legs come in handy when wading through the water, keeping the rest of their body dry.

This crop is about 20% of the original, shot with my D300 and the 70-200mm, at 2.8. With this lens I had to be quite close. Rather than chasing the birds, I just waited at a good spot. Once the birds got used to my presence they came foraging very close to me. Although the afternoon light was a bit harsh, I felt that the nice line-up and their reflection made up for most of it.


Capturing the right emotion

There can be a vast difference between how you think a place should make you feel and how it actually makes you feel. Consider the image below:

For those who are not familiar with this particular scene, you probably see a rather boring picture, shot in harsh day light. Some, however, might recognize it as the entrance to the former concentration camp of Dachau, in Germany. Either way, I bet most of you didn’t get a sense of sadness when looking at this image. Even once you know what you’re looking at, the image might still not ‘do anything’ to you. Today I’ll discuss how you can use photographic creativity to help evoke the emotion that fits the story you want to tell. Continue reading