Feb 052014

One of my favorite places to photograph Pine Warblers is the Econ River Wilderness Area. About a year and a half ago, I took my favorite photos of the species here. They are the kind of photos I’d like to have for most species–I call them bird-on-a-stick photos. These are the kinds of photos you see in field guides, etc.

You see most of the bird, often in profile, and the background is completely blurred with no detail whatsoever. I love these images, partly for their beauty, and partly for how difficult they are to achieve, especially with birds that like to perch in messy branches.

With today’s software, you can often remove these branches, but I don’t do much of this. I’d rather spend my time taking pictures than messing with them. Here’s one of my favorite images from my visit to this park in 2012.

Pine Warbler with Pine Needles – 1/26/2014

Pine Warbler On-a-Stick – 6/9/2012

Over the last couple weeks, Pine Warblers have begun singing all over the park, making them pretty easy to locate. But today, the Pine Warblers didn’t give me these kinds of images, and that’s okay. After all, they’re called Pine Warblers for a reason. So I had fun looking for ways to make the background illustrate their habitat without being distracting.

Often this means just moving a step or too to one side or other to get a background that I think will work out well. In some of these images, the background is more blurred than others, but I think you can at least make out what’s back there. To me, these images may not be as visually striking as the ones I took in 2012, but they’re more interpretive of the bird’s environment. So I like them both. Please don’t make me choose.

Pine Warbler with Tree Trunk – 1/26/2014

Pine Warbler with Pine Needles – 1/26/2014

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Scott Simmons

Scott Simmons

Scott Simmons, based in Florida, is a lover of nature, landscape, and wildlife photography. Scott became interested in photography in 2001 when he was given his first SLR camera. When he acquired a telephoto lens, he became progressively more interested in birds and other wildlife. Scott enjoys learning about bird habitats and behavior, striving always to take images that are both beautiful and interpretive. Scott believes photography is a great vehicle to help others to appreciate the wonder for the stuff of earth.

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3 Comments on "Pine Warbler and Image Backgrounds"

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David Trevan
2 years 8 months ago

Wonderful images!

Daphne Watson
2 years 8 months ago

Pine warbler framed by pine needles, just perfect. Sometimes bokeh is not the answer

Cat Vincent
Cat Vincent
2 years 8 months ago

Please Scott, don'y call these lovely images 'birds on sticks' it reminds me of a horrible album on Facebook by some nasty bow hunter woman called 'On a Stick' – all images of animals and birds she had slaughtered, still hanging from her arrows. UGH. Your photos are too beautiful for that!!


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