portraits in the dark

Sometimes shooting in low light adds an interesting dimension to an otherwise ordinary portrait.  Dark forests with light gaps, post-sunset after glow, back-lighting — yesterday’s photo session at a local marsh provided lots of challenges.

eastern kingbird-

An Eastern Kingbird waited for me to focus while sitting on a little stick above a small pond. Just a hint of a halo around its head from the little remaining light in the day — it was almost 9 p.m. when I took this shot.

song sparrow-

A pair of Song Sparrows were madly chipping at me as I got too close to their territory, but deep in the woods, with the only light behind the bird made this a tough shot. Taking out the deep shadows in Lightroom helped.

great blue heron in a tree-

Great Blue Heron in a tree, with just its head illuminated by the last remaining rays of the sunset.  It was unusual to see such a big bird perched high in a tree like this.

great blue heron in a tree-

Checking me out — the heron decided to mimic just another branch of the tree with its long neck outstretched.

5 thoughts on “portraits in the dark

  1. As you show so well, Sue, it is possible to get pretty good shots in such limited light, but you have to fight to get them. The camera’s auto focus is sluggish at best and grain and shadows are a challenge. I really like the image of the blue heron with only its head illuminated–for me it captures a real sense of that moment.

    • That’s a great shot with the ISO at 4k, it remarkable what modern sensors can achieve!

      In the UK our grey herons (which look similar to your blue one) live communally up in the trees in a ‘heronry’ and there can be 40-50 or more birds in one commune. It’s an impressive sight!

      • Thanks, Finn. I know there are heronries somewhere nearby this marsh–would love to find it. Unusual to see just a lone bird in the tree, though.

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