- By Gaurav Mittal
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It is no secret that images created in the early morning or late afternoon light also known as the “golden hour”produce pleasing results. It is critical to be present at the right location and have the composition and the exposure setup because the light is ever changing and you get just a few seconds or maybe a minute to capture that magical moment.
Breeding season at Bharatpur has started and the resident birds are displaying absolutely stunning vibrant colors. One bird that stands out with it’s spectacular plumage and has captivated me so much is the painted stork. Nesting on top of trees, the painted stork have been displaying a lot of affection to each other, keeping this in mind, I planned on photographing some interaction between them. A key element in making the interaction between birds stand out is to photograph them at the moment when the light is the sweetest; this helps in accentuating the colors and creates a mood, which heightens our sense of emotion and invokes a positive feel and reaction.
Controlling exposure is critical to creating pleasing images. Keep in mind that the bright whites on the bird and the dark background can cause the whites to be overexposed and lose details. Meter off the whites and check the histogram for any clippings, that should be the starting point for exposure settings. I chose a vertical composition here as these birds are tall and each one is at a slightly different level, if you intend on leaving out the birds feet from the frame, then they should not be cut off at the knee.
Once the exposure and composition were set, the moment the painted storks started courting and interacting, I was ready with the pre-visualized image in my mind. As I photographed the interaction, the golden light and the behavior reminded me of a couple romancing over a candlelight dinner.
You can learn more about exposure and composition at my first workshop in Bharatpur early next year. For more information click here