I heard the sandpiper calling incessantly as the sun thought about raising its sleepy head over the ancient mountains across the lake. It would be a while before the lights were completely on, so it was a very low-light situation and, to boot, I couldn’t position myself to have the bird front lit.
The bird was “talking” with a likewise loquacious tern, which was floating on the water not far away. The sandpiper would periodically take a break from chatting and poke around the water with its beak, looking for breakfast. It was comfortable with the distance I held between us and allowed me to walk around a bit, trying to get a better vantage point for a shot.
I finally decided to take advantage of the warm colours painting the water and use the lighting to get a silhouette of the bird as it was conversing to the other, as seen above. I took some other shots while exploring the light, but the silhouette is my favourite.
Sometimes, it’s not the lighting that is not ideal — it’s merely our position and/or ability to take advantage of what lighting there is, as well as our ability to not limit ourselves to our preconceived ideas.
Initially, I tried to get a lit shot of the sandpiper. The ripples of the water made it difficult to get a shot in which the bird could be distinguished from its environment. It walked into an area of water in which I could position myself that removed enough of the distraction to be able to see the bird.
After the sun rose a bit higher, there was more light and the water became bright enough to be able to see the bird. Unfortunately, I was still on the wrong side to get what would have been amazing lighting. There was no way I could have gotten around to the other side without resulting in the bird flying away, but, here it is now recognizable.
Again, this cormorant is in silhouette — the sun was low behind it, the water is bright, it is a black bird, so I knew I wanted a silhouette shot with the gentle warmth on the water. It was very successfully fishing off the shoreline and wouldn’t come any closer with me sitting on the bank (cormorants, in my experience, are very shy of people and are easily spooked). So I waited for clean silhouettes of the bird and its prey.
Here’s another shot with another fish. I like the framing better (I like more still water), but the silhouette doesn’t work at all. The fish and the bird’s head are not easily separated or recognizable from each other. Maybe it has a weird big beak and is quacking…
A split second later, the cormorant turned his head to show off the fish and I had my silhouette of bird with fish.