danob [D. L. O’Byrne]


My own preference for bird photography is side lighting, I guess the first question to be asked is "why"? Why bother with side
lighting in the first place? The reason is that side lighting is often much more dramatic than front lighting. This kind of lighting
tends to give a lot of contrast because large areas of the photo will have both strong lighting and deep shadows. This lighting
gives a three-dimensional look to the photograph. Front lighting tends to give flat, even lighting that which often appears
two-dimensional. This is great for documentary or representational type images, but often lacks a "punch". This type of lighting
is ideal for identification photography. Side lighting, by contrast has an immediate visual impact. This is due in part to the fact
that we don't often see images like this in publications. Side lighting is also of interest as it lends a new twist on familiar subjects.
For example, consider this photo of my swan, Swans are plentiful in most parts of the world and a typical frontlit photograph
is fairly easy to come by. The strong side lighting has a few interesting effects here. The direction of lighting casts part of the bird.
It has a strong visual impact because there is little else to distract us in the photo.The side lighting has produced some wonderful
detail in the feathers and the textures stand out well. One difficulty with this kind of photograph is getting the exposure right.