fotoeffectson April 9, 2011
Outstanding capture; wonderful pp.
DGL-Imagingon April 9, 2011
Nick Jancewiczon April 9, 2011
Pardon my verbosity, but one picture is worth a thousand words (well, quite a few words, anyway). The following comments relate to this photo:
The broad daylight impinging upon the striking green and brown reeds combined with the ripple effects of the water distorting and reflecting the scene, transformed what was a remarkable photo into one that is even more interesting in terms of the animal behavior that it illustrates. Obviously, this image suggests the formidable gulping capacity of a pelican, but there’s more to it upon closer inspection.
At first glance, it looks as if the red winged blackbird is about to fly into the mouth of the pelican with gaping jaws. But just how close did the blackbird come to being swallowed by the pelican? Without the water’s reflections, it would be hard to tell. Even zooming in on this photo with a digital image viewer doesn’t provide a clear indication of whether part of the blackbird’s wing obscures the pelican’s upper beak (which would mean that the blackbird was closer to the camera) or vice versa (that the pelican was closer), since the digital image limits the available resolution required to say one way or the other. However, the answer is clearly revealed by the spatial relationship of the water’s reflections to their corresponding photographic subjects. Note that there are 5 dark colored, horizontal ripple reflections of the blackbird in the lower left center of the photo which show that it was safely out of range of the pelican’s jaws, which the pelican naturally opened wide as a defensive reaction to its attacker (no doubt, alerted by the vocal aggression typical of blackbirds). Because the blackbird reflections are so close to the bottom of the photo compared to the background reflections of the reeds, we can see that the blackbird was situated far enough away to be in no direct danger from the pelican (or vice versa) as the blackbird was located much closer to the camera than the pelican.
The blackbird was diving toward the pelican from above and from the rear at the instant of the snapshot. Anyone who observes red wing blackbirds for any length of time knows how territorial and opportunistic they are. They will exploit any possible advantage to drive off ”the enemy”. As the WWI flying ace, Baron Manfred Von Richthoven once remarked, you should try to attack your adversary from behind and above and with the sun to your back. This red winged blackbird knew enough to exploit those rules of survival, with its gaudy red epaulettes almost as flamboyant as a WWI style fighter plane.