Thursday color

Canada geese Branta canadensis against pink-orange sunset skyJust a few pics without a lot of explanation, because they don’t need it. Two are fairly recent, and one has actually been seen before, dating from May.

Two weeks back, I was at the nearby pond watching what the sunset colors were doing when the Canada geese (Branta canadensis) departed, though a handful of them circled the pond at low level, honking loudly – I can only surmise they were trying to convince the others to follow. This is one of those slightly tricky situations, because one can track the geese as they circle, but framing them against an interesting portion of sky takes a little bit of timing and foresight – it’s easy to realize afterward that it would have looked better if they had been captured there instead of here, but by then it’s too late. This is where being able to shoot with both eyes open can help, because you can ‘scout’ the background they are about to cross with the other eye before they reach it and plan accordingly. You can also hear the honking that signifies their impending takeoff and realize that they’re likely to appear or cross there, and be ready. This includes thinking if a horizontal or vertical composition will work better, and whether you can pull off a shutter speed that’s fast enough. It’s not hard, it just requires being on your toes. The hint of trees included at the bottom of the frame here ‘grounds’ the geese near the horizon instead of simply being someplace overhead, as they would appear without it.

wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo under rhododendronsNaturally, in honor of the day I have to include this pic from earlier in the year, during a trip to NJ. This turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) really was wild, even though it was one of many accustomed to a semi-domestic situation, wandering through yards in a Jersey housing development. Art Carlson was actually somewhat correct: wild turkeys can fly, just not the over-fattened domestic ones raised for food.

two lone sweetgum leaves against sunset skyAnd another, taken minutes apart from the geese shot, because. I’ll leave this here for a second and let you soak it in, before I start talking about it.

Now, did you notice that vertical band of clouds to the right? It’s actually a contrail, one of the things that makes sunrise and sunset pics in this area such a pain in the ass – they’ll appear in the same conditions as the clouds that make for interesting skies, but of course clouds don’t make these narrow long lines across the sky. To me, it adds the wrong kind of element to the scene, but in this case it was broad enough and subtle enough that I don’t think it actually registers – correct me if I’m wrong. I did another composition where I aligned the edge of the contrail with the bigger branch right alongside the leaves, making it even subtler, but then the change in position meant the leaves were crossed by other branches instead of being framed in space as seen here, and I didn’t like it as much. Decisions, decisions…