Photography – Sense of Scale – plus Wilson’s Snipe


I just recently read Jeff Lynch’s post (his blog) about showing sense of scale to your photographs.  Give it a read.  It is excellent and has great photographs.  I was impressed with it and decided to show you here, what sense of scale can accomplish.

Santa Elena Canyon - Big Bend National Park

These walls of the canyon reach a height of 1,500 feet.  The photo looks somewhat nondescript until you notice that speck at the bottom left.  That is a hiker making his way into the entrance of the canyon.  You can also see another person showing as a white speck in the center of the green growth.  Click on the photo and you see what I am talking about.

This photo was taken about ten years ago.  I was on a narrow trail up on the wall of the canyon, about 100 feet above the Rio Grande River(I am sure that Jeff has been there.) The wall was near my right side looming high above me.  I wanted a vertical shot, but I needed something to show the scale of it all.  I looked down and saw the hiker meandering along.  I waited until I could fit him into the image.  I was using a slightly wide angle lens so I could include a sliver of sky at the top.  I was using film and all my EXIF data has been lost.

So you can see how important it is to show something in your photos to show sense of scale.  For example, if you are photographing a lizard, an object, or anything that your viewer has no idea the size, include a pencil, ruler, or something that is familiar.

Now onto birding news.  The Common Goldeneyes have left the water ponds at Eldorado.  As you remember I saw them back on, I believe Dec. 29.  They were a lifer for me and I showed you the photograph.  Ann and I drove back down there today, as I was hoping to see them to add them to my 2012 species viewed list, but alas, not to happen.  We did add 11 more to my 2012 species list, bringing it up to 44 towards my goal of 225 for the year.

But the wind was blowing quite hard and most of the water birds were hunkered down under the banks of the ponds.  I did come up with another photo of a Wilson’s Snipe which I will share with you here.

Wilson's Snipe

Exposure data:  Canon EOS 7D, Canon 100-400mm lens.  1/400 sec. @ f8, +0.3EV, ISO 640.  Spot metering with aperture priority.

For more photos click on my Flickr link in the right side-bar of this page.

Yesterday’s birding and new lifer


Ann and I decided that another nice day deserved to be spent birding.  We spent a couple of hours at Middle Concho and Spring Creek parks, then we got a call on our cell phone from Suzanne Johnson down at Eldorado.  A Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), had been spotted at the water treatment ponds.  So we left immediately to get down there.  We saw it and I got a nice photo of it.  It was lifer number 239 for me.

Common Goldeneye

Canon EOS 7D with Canon 500mm f4 IS lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  Exposure 1/1600 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, ISO 400.  Partial metering and aperture priority.  Captured from our car, using a Puffin Pad window support.  Distance to subject was about 100 yards.

Total of 40 bird species spotted:

  1.  American Coot
  2.  Northern Mockingbird
  3.  Great Blue Heron
  4.  Pied-billed Grebe
  5.  Golden-fronted Woodpecker
  6.  Cinnamon Teal
  7.  Gadwall
  8.  Northern Shoveler
  9.  Great Egret
  10.  Green-winged Teal
  11.  Wilson’s Snipe
  12.  Great-tailed Grackle
  13.  Red-tailed Hawk
  14.  European Starling
  15.  Western Meadowlark
  16.  Double-crested Cormorants
  17.  Yellow-rumped Warbler
  18.  House Finch
  19.  Savannah Sparrow
  20.  Eastern Bluebird
  21.  Vermilion Flycatcher
  22.  Ring-billed Gull
  23.  American Coot
  24.  Wild Turkey
  25.  White-winged Dove
  26.  Northern Flicker
  27.  Red-winged Blackbird
  28.  American Goldfinch
  29.  Lesser Scaup
  30.  Eared Grebe
  31.  Northern Pintail
  32.  Horned Grebe
  33.  Ruddy Duck
  34.  Canvasback
  35.  Common Goldeneye
  36.  Ringed-neck Duck
  37.  Killdeer
  38.  Lark Bunting
  39.  Egyptian Goose
  40.  Eurasian Collared Dove