Ibis drama

I hopped off my bike to watch a flock of eight to ten ibis peck around in the swamp water in search of a meal. Then I decided to take a seat on the ground and just watch to see if any action developed. The scene presented a few photographic challenges: the birds were in constant motion. Think: high ISO and fast shutter speed. There were so many of them, that they never seemed to form an orderly or symmetrical composition. Think: I’m going to watch for a composition to form, but most likely crop later. The brightness of the birds and the dark water would foil my camera’s efforts to calculate a good exposure. Think: Meter the exposure directly on the bird; you don’t want the feathers to be blown highlights that cannot be recovered in processing.

The result: I caught a scene with some action. One ibis was acting like the bully on the playground, chasing away his peer. Preparation paid off. With all the prior analysis of the scene, I was ready to catch the split-second ibis drama.

#ibis, #birds, #wadingbirds, #chase, #florida, #bully, #drama, #preparation, #nikonD800
As I quietly observe, these ibis act like kids on the playground — or presidential candidates.

Finds at Phipps Conservatory

If your city offers an indoor botanic garden in a conservatory, you have an escape from winter in your backyard. The Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh offers lush and exotic vegetation displayed with artistic vision at all times of the year. In a recent visit, I found a Japanese theme in a long gallery, where 24 mm lens created a compelling composition.

Japanese umbrellas at Phipps Conservatory
Japanese umbrellas at Phipps Conservatory

Through the years, I have also enjoyed photographing Chihuly glass and gargoyles harmonizing with the plants.

Chihuly glass at Phipps Conservatory, 2008
Chihuly glass at Phipps Conservatory, 2008
Gargoyle at Phipps Conservatory
Gargoyle at Phipps Conservatory

Make a visit to your conservatory today. My favorites are the New York Botanic Garden and the Naples Botanic Garden. Feel free to share your favorites.