RSPCA Photography Awards 2013 - Part 2/2

December 20, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

I am pleased to announce I have not only won the 16-18s category but also the overall winner for the RSPCA Photography Awards 2013!

Part 2/2: About the photo, ‘Bokeh Heron’.

Bokeh Heron - RSPCA OVERALL WINNERBokeh Heron - RSPCA OVERALL WINNER

Equipment: Canon 550D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM

1/500sec, ISO-500, F/8, 400mm, exposure -1.7

 

RSPCA YPA Published caption:

This grey heron sat on a perch while a tufted duck bathed, spraying water. The sun was setting, lighting the water into thousands of bokeh balls. I spent many of my exam breaks at this pond – nature helps get my mind off things. The pond is situated within a valley of trees and the strong setting sun light only appears in the summer. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, if I was on the other side of the pond I would have missed the light. It is also unusual herons come to this pond during the summer.

 

A little more about the photo:

The photograph was taken back in May this year and was taken during my revision breaks during the exam season. I was sitting on a log overlooking the lake waiting for the mute swan cygnets to come out from their nest. It’s not very common to see grey herons at this lake during the summer and so after capturing a basic heron portrait, I began to mess around with settings as I waited. I was underexposing the camera as I wanted to capture a silhouette against the setting sun.

Then suddenly a tufted duck began to bath about 5 metres in front of the heron, spraying water into the air. The setting light lit these balls and as the camera was focused on the heron, bokeh balls were produced. Bokeh basically means out of focus light and is often used in photography, but not wildlife photography and so I was pleased to incorporate this into the image.

Surprisingly this wasn’t an image I was initially pleased with. I was actually a little disappointed as I had gone to the pond to photograph the cygnets and all I came home with was an image of a heron with white spots everywhere. The exam wave came and I didn’t edit the image until entering the photography competition. I entered this photo in a heron portfolio, but that didn’t get any further in the competition. However, the judges moved this image into my age category instead. And for those interested with how I processed the image, all I did was increase highlights. The image was already underexposed which formed the dark background.

 

Check out Part 1 for photos from the awards ceremony!


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