Image Backstories #7

A delve into James’ archive of images from his personal project: Richmond Park – The Characters and Charisma of a Royal Park 

In this series of backstories, James is going to explain just a little about how the images were created both technically and creatively.

#7 – The Dandy Mandy

Approximate settings – 1/500s / f3.5 / ISO 400 / Lens 400mm

Why this image?

Mandarin Ducks are eye-catching and always make great subject matter. The dandy plumage and their regal manner is what I wanted to capture. Being a relatively tame bird makes them great fun to experiment with. I have shot many differing images of these birds, but this is one of my favourites because of it’s simplicity.

Image thoughts:

It is often tempting to get as close as possible, to fill the frame, with such obvious and bold subject matter. But in this instance I wanted to give the bird space and to accentuate its regal demeanour. The low golden glow of late evening sun creates the canvas. The bird completes the image. Colour, symmetry, simplicity, but most importantly space is what I like about this image.

Takeaway tip:

In the case of this image the light was really quite dazzling and the scene to the naked eye was full of contrast. Thinking ahead to how an image will look post, post-production is important. It helps with assessing what is important regarding the final image and then setting the exposure accordingly.

*All images in this series where taken whilst walking the dog and only ever carrying one lens at a time. Always simple.
( Canon 5 series bodies – Fixed lenses 400 / 85 / 35 / 14 mm lenses )