Don’t clip those Wings!!

Morkel Erasmus All Authors, Morkel 3 Comments

As you get into the challenging pastime of bird and wildlife photography, you will get to deal with many of the “rules” so often imposed by camera clubs and online forums, and end up stifling creativity and growth.

Don’t get me wrong, when you are still starting out these “rules” (Gerry likes to call them guidelines, with which I agree) are VERY helpful in assisting you to create pleasing imagery and understand basic concepts about composition, visual mass and what makes an image work or not.

But as you grow and develop your own style and photographic flavour, conforming to these “rules” in every single photo will eventually kill your creativity and cause you to create carbon copy photos that looks just like everyone else’s shots. I have to often remind myself about this too, as I have found that my shooting style can quickly become formulaic.

So what are some of these “rules”?

1. Compose using the rule of thirds

2. Leave enough space for your subject to look/move into

3. Don’t blow out any highlights or shadows in exposure

4. Don’t clip (cut off) any crucial body parts when framing your subject

I could go on, but you get the idea. I’m not saying you should ignore these rules/guidelines all the time, but every once in a while allow yourself to make an image that doesn’t conform to them.

See what the results look like…and take it from there.

This photo was taken from the dedicated Wild Eye photographic boat on the Chobe river in Botswana. The African Fish Eagle was coming closer and closer as it’s flight path brought it in, and I knew it was going to be too close eventually for my 500mm lens. Instead of putting the camera down, I kept shooting and tried to frame it decently by focusing on the head. I had to crop the eventual file somewhat from the sides to taste, but I was quite pleased with this result…

What do you think??


I am leading a photographic safari to the Chobe from 12-16 March 2014, and if you would like to join me in photographing this Eden of Africa, you can find all the info you need HERE.

Incidentally, there’s also last-minute space left on Gerry’s Chobe trip that’s departing 27 November 2013 if you fancy a photographic travel treat sooner.

Until next time!

Morkel Erasmus

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Comments 3

  1. Kanj

    I love it, and if you look at it from the rule of thirds it pretty much adheres to that. It is a very up close and personal shot.

  2. Pingback: Never Shoot Into the Sun - Wild Eye Photography

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