So what’s different?

These hawk photos are different. Or are they?

_T6C1565, hawk, flight

This hawk’s trademark intense look was complimented by some back light which turned feathers translucent giving it a different look.

What’s the difference between an average photo and a good one. Uncommon views often provide uncommon beauty. Waiting for better light (patience alert), viewing the subject from a different perspective (sore knee alert) or deciding how much of the scene to show (cropping alert) are just a few examples.

_T6C1524

It’s not too often I get to fly above a hawk to take a photo … or maybe I was standing on the ground and it banked sharply for a turn.

I like to think I’m a practical person so there is an obvious solution to better photos. Just do something different than the norm. Easy. Except of course that depends on the norm and which norm you are accustomed to viewing. And if too many people start doing the same unusual, we are back to where we started.

It reminds me of an old man who lived beside us when I was just a boy. His trademark flannel jacket was a common scene for years as he worked in the yard during cool weather. He wore that same jacket all the time I had known him. One day it struck me that he had worn that jacket right back into the style that the cool kids were wearing. How awesome was that! I see hope for my fashion choices.

All this to say that I chose three hawk photos for this post because they are different. I will let you be the judge on the grander scale.

They are different to me.

_T6C1664

The view from below is not new, nor is having the edges of the feathers slightly blurred showing the wing’s movement. However taken together with the light striking the hawk’s head made me look a little longer at this photo.


 

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Latest Comments

  1. Melisa says:

    Wow, so heavenly! They are all equally fascinating, but it’s the last one I like most.

    Like

  2. Mary Strong-Spaid says:

    Love the light in the wings.

    Like

  3. artsifrtsy says:

    I love that third shot a lot – the play of light, the curve of the wing, really special. Light can really make or break a photo. Great shots.

    Like

  4. Rick Alonzo Photography says:

    I like No. 1 most, although the others are great as well. The light is magic in No. 1.

    Like

  5. westerner54 says:

    I agree with Dina: I always learn from your posts, and of course the critters are just wonderful. Love the analogy of the neighbor with his flannel jacket – here’s hoping that his method does indeed work for you, although I’m betting your kids are not too sure that holding on to the same outfits for years is a good plan! My daughter has set my straight on that a time or two, I do believe…

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I’m glad you are able to pick up some things and enjoy the critters. As for the fashion thing, I suppose it’s only normal for different generations to have different ideas. I’m still hoping my plan works.

      Like

  6. hannele says:

    Great text, and there’s really quite some depth in you discussion about norms. It also applies to other things in life than photography, I think. 🙂

    Beautiful photos too, of course. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. I am having a little fun with commenting and writing stories about photography which sometimes bear an uncanny resemblance to other areas of life. Glad you found some depth.

      Like

  7. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    After some deliberation, the 2nd one is my favorite. The feeling of being above the bird is really cool.

    Like

  8. doriswamyganesh says:

    Dear Lyle, I am not a poet nor a student of literature.All that I can say is that they are lovely beautiful pictures of the hawk,the best I have seen in flight.Thank you so much for the pleasure once again.Regards, Ganesh.

    Like

  9. doraiswamyganesh says:

    Dear Lyle, I am not a poet or a writer all that I can say is that they are some of the best i mean the very best pictures ever seen.Thanks again. Ganesh.

    Like

  10. Mike Powell says:

    I could never be a judge of a photo contest, especially if presented with spectacular images like these. It might be possible to describe the elements that attract me, both technically as well as emotionally. I could talk about light and shadows, of sharpness and blur, of aperture settings and shutter speeds. However, ultimately each image is a unique combination of all of those factors.

    Each of us also views the image through our own personal prisms, prisms forged through a lifetime of experience and discovery or perhaps through the prism of the moment in which we encounter the image. Each of us has likes and dislikes and different priorities that factor into any evaluation of a photo. In that sense, each image is different for each viewer. You hinted at this when you talked about norms. I sometimes am guilty of universalizing my norms, of assuming that what is ordinary for me is ordinary for others. In the case of hawks, I am in awe of any shot that captures the beauty and power of these amazing birds. I rarely see them and even less frequently have the chance to photograph one, so any clear shot is “different.”

    So if beauty is so subjective, what are we to do? I like your “prescription” of seeking different light, different perspectives, and different cropping. They are useful, practical steps to forcing us out of our “normal” routines, out of our comfort zone where we may have grown increasingly complacent. The results will be different and sometimes that means they will be better, but not always–we may need to keep in mind the disclaimer that comes with so many products, that results are not guaranteed.

    Yet we grow through the very process of trying new approaches, as we stretch ourselves to produce images that we like. For me, that is the ultimate question, whether I like the image. Others may like it more than I do or less, but their reaction is largely out of my hands (though I may see to influence it with my creative decisions). Only I know for sure if an image is truly “different” for me.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      I actually went to a course once to become a photo judge. Before the day ended, I was pretty sure that was something I wasn’t going to do, despite my initial interest. The type of judging they were doing involved looking at a photo and few seconds later trying to come up with coherent thots and a score out of 10. I could say right away whether I liked it and point out some obvious things about it, but I thot good photos deserved much more time and consideration – though given the numbers involved that was not possible.

      I much prefer to focus on my own pursuit of beauty which is heavily subjective as any judging process will quickly reveal and as you pointed out. It’s exciting when others see it too but not disappointing if they don’t. I notice my own subjective opinion of beauty morphing with time and practice. Yet despite all the subjectivity and differences of opinion, there is a thread of beauty that runs through it all.

      Like

  11. Mandy says:

    I liked the first shot the best. Make sure you look out for my blog post next week. I will be featuring an animal you haven’t seen yet – but the photography wont be in the same class as this.

    Like

  12. melodylowes says:

    I can’t decide which view I like better – each one has something to set it apart, as you say. This is now my second summer taking garden photos – as I take more shots of the same plants as last year, I am becoming aware that a new angle, new lighting, a unique sky, all can add to the drama of the shot. I think you learn to use your eyes in new ways as you look at your world in terms of frames and shots. I love the challenge of finding something new in something ‘old’ or ‘common’. As always, an enlightening and entertaining post.

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. It’s quite exciting to see new photo possibilities and figure out what adds drama to a shot. I keep learning little things and adding them to my list to watch for in the next opportunity. I’m happy for all your discoveries in your garden. Learning to really see makes such a big difference.

      Like

  13. Seenorway says:

    700 mm is a lot to pack around? I’m thinking about aquiring a Canon Powershot XS50 as a second camera for though shots. XS50 equals a 1200 mm objective and (if I remember correctly) has 16,1 mpx. The f. ,however, might be 6,3 but then the price isn’t too bad: Approximately $ 800 Then there is the crop factor . . . I’m not sure whether that’s included when they say 1200 mm?!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      My 700 mm rig is bulky and heavy. Unfortunately compromises are part of the choices I have to make and those are two negatives – good photos are the positive. I did a quick check on that camera you mentioned and it looks quite interesting. My goodness you would be able to zoom right in but that’s definitely tripod territory. Let me know how that works out for you. Getting new cameras is always exciting.

      Like

  14. dapontephotography says:

    Yes all three are wonderful but the third photo is a unique perspective and a great shot!

    Like

  15. liamgreensphotography says:

    The first Photo is great.
    Follow Me on Twitter:
    @liamjamesgreen
    And my Website:
    http://liamgreensphotography.wordpress.com

    Like

  16. mimar9 says:

    Lyle,

    I really, no, immensely like what you are doing.

    I’m sure I’m not alone.

    Marty

    Like

  17. Gunta says:

    I loved #1 until I saw the last one and that one totally sucked me in with the focal point on the head and eyes. Though honestly, the translucent wings in the first shot are pretty stunning.

    Like

  18. Honie Briggs says:

    This guy was watching you like a hawk! The texture and pattern of this creature is remarkable. I like the arc of shot #3, #1 of course is the most striking. I have found that I pay more attention to framing a shot now than I once did because of the cropping dilemma, and as you know, patients isn’t my strong suit. The sore knee thing, I totally get. 🙂

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      He had his eye on me for quite a while! I was unbelievably fortunate because he kept circling around me and my truck, giving lots of chances to try again on the side with better light. Lack of patience, sore knees and cropping – all active ingredients in my photos! Just add luck and stir.

      Like

  19. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Just . . . wow! I’m not really looking for photos that are different, just photos that make me FEEL something different, and you don’t disappoint!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks so much. That definitely is a more lofty standard and something I aspire to get. It’s the feeling that pulls me in to take the photo so it’s pretty special if others get it too.

      Like

  20. dda53 says:

    I like the wing span and look of the first one. Nice captures, they will be migrating through this area in September. They fill the skies as they head south.

    Like

  21. Phil Lanoue says:

    All excellent but I’m going with #1.
    So I should still hold on to my very short and very tight 80s Addidas running shorts?!

    Like

  22. sagescenery says:

    Your photos are so inspiring!! Love, love, love the first one…so majestic!!!

    Like

  23. niasunset says:

    I wanted to fly under his wings… Great shots. Thanks and Love, nia

    Like

  24. Victor Rakmil says:

    These are great captures. The first though is superb and definitely different!

    Like

  25. Seenorway says:

    These are fantastic shots, Lyle! Please tell me: How many mm objective are you using and what’s the f-area?
    I can even see the ‘interest’ in his eyes . . . 😀

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thank you. That’s what I like about hawks, they always know I am there, and in some cases like this one, decide to hang around for a longer period anyway. These shots were taken at F5.6, 700 mm and I still had to crop a lot to get them to a reasonable size.

      Like

  26. Dina says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      You are most welcome though I didn’t actually intend it as a tutorial. I’m just trying to figure out this photography journey to better photos.

      Like

      • Dina says:

        Doesn’t matter what you call it, I’m eager to learn and have saved many wise words of yours. It’s really great when someone actually points out the difference and tell me how to sharpen my eye and be aware of the little details that make or brake a photo. Now you know. 🙂
        Good night to you.
        Dina

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