Sandhill Cranes in Flight: An Abstract Expression
I haven’t posted an experimental piece in a while, so I thought it might be time for another.
This was another photo that I was trying to find a way to make more “interesting,” because the original (see below) was a little too ordinary.
Before our storm chase last week, my husband and I stopped by a wildlife refuge to see the early migration of the sandhill cranes. These are giant birds with a distinct call you can hear for long distances. (Like a plane, you often hear them before you can see them.) And they are also very shy (unlike Canada geese and most herons). So, unless you can sneak up on them or you have a much stronger telephoto lens than I do, you will probably not get a clear photograph of them.
So rather than try to get a detail of the birds themselves, I wanted to try to capture them in their majestic flight. Though the storms hadn’t started forming yet, the cumulus clouds had begun to rise, which made for an interesting backdrop. Unfortunately, there was no way I could auto-bracket a photo of birds in motion, and trying to get a good exposure of dark-feathered birds against bright, sunlit clouds was impossible with the equipment I had. So I wasn’t overly pleased with the results I got.
Nonetheless, I wanted to see what I could do with the photographs I had. It quickly turned from an effort to enhance the original to turning it into an artistic representation. I tried to make sure that the figures of the birds were still identifiable while abstracting the sky and clouds.
For comparison, here is the original, cropped to match the final image.