Less is more (again)

As a bird photographer I love less-is-more-pictures. The subject that matters takes up only a small part of these pictures, while its surroundings plays an important role.

In these pictures the subject remains at a distance and the photos can be taken by a lens with few millimetre (wide angle lens) or a telephoto lens. Strangely enough I can’t find many less-is-more-pictures in my own collection. Apparently, it's become a habit to use my telephoto lens to make the subject as large as possible in the frame.

A less-is-more-picture seems like a simple thing to take, but the reality is different. In the frame the surrounding is often blurred by using a telephoto lens. In this way it’s easy to camouflage a distracting surrounding. The subject is ‘trapped’ by the limited depth perception and is isolated from its environment.

In a less-is-more-picture, the surrounding in the frame of the picture is just that important and has to be presentable, which is the difficult part.

Once I wrote an article about this topic (less is more). As it's already been a few years later I decided to put again an article on my website. I won't explain the making of these pictures again. The emphasis is on the practice (photos). Some examples are more successful than the others. 

I think one of the most successful less-is-more photos is the Jack Snipe of Arno ten Hoeve.

Atlantic Canary in a mint plant
For their tameness, Ivory Gulls are good subjects for wide angle shots. Unfortunately, these gulls are very rare! I deliberately kept my companions in frame of the picture.

A Common Linnet on a railing. Also note the lonely dead blade. At first sight it seems as though there is no surrounding. Telephoto lens shot.

The Waterrail in winter. Nice! Wide angle shot.

A water trampling Little Gull. Telephoto lens shot.
Wide angle shot. A specific picture of daily birdlife in Rotterdam. The thawing ice, the reflection of the houses, the garbage, a grumpy Coot, Black-headed Gulls and a bollard with an Iceland Gull!
It takes some time to find the bird. The shadow of my telephoto lens is pointing to the correct direction. Wide angle shot of a young Tawny Owl. The bird was sitting on the fence all day long.
   Two telephoto lens shots. In both pictures the surrounding plays a part. In the first picture (Ural Owl) because it shows the habitat of the bird and in the second picture (Great Grey Owl) because it shows the ‘starting darkness’.

   Two telephoto lens shots of a Hawk Owl. The first picture is less appealing to me because of a lack of surrounding of the bird. I think the second picture is therefore more successful.
Steller’s eider, low angle view. The low position gives an almost surreal surrounding. Telephoto lens shot.
Telephoto lens shot of a Little Bittern. A lot of surrounding in the frame of the picture! 

Wide angle shot taken with three studio strobes in a nice messy barn.

A Blue Heron, fishing in a ditch. Wide angle shot.
A group of sleeping Long-eared Owls. Telephoto lens shot.

A Carrion Crow in a treetop. Telephoto lens shot.

Telephoto lens shot of a King Eider. Snow is made even more impressive by showing a lot of environment.

A Tawny Owl in a flowering tree. Honestly I’ve had enough of all the Tawny Owl-pictures, full frame in the opening of a nest cavity. Telephoto lens shot.

A hatched young Little Bittern. It has become a picture puzzle, but that’s the fun of it. Telephoto lens shot.

Royal Tern hunting in the sky. The clouds are a nice addition. Telephoto lens shot.

Pomarine Jaeger along West-Kapelle above a raging sea. Believe me, on a large format this picture does appeal! Telephoto lens shot.

Success or failure? Regarding the colours, the picture looks a bit strange and the background could be distracting or engaging. However, the romantic atmosphere appeals to me. Telephoto lens shot of an Oriental Turtle Dove.

Hey, no bird! A beaver in the polder. When I took this picture, I couldn't choose between my telephoto lens or my wide angle lens (I usually have two cameras with me). Fortunately, I chose the wide angle lens.

Meally Redpoll. Telephoto lens shot: this picture is yet again a ‘bird on a twig’ photo, it lacks an appealing surrounding in the frame.

House Sparrow male in a lot of twigs. Telephoto lens shot.

Siberian Jay, wide angle shot. The photo was taken with a tripod and long cable release.

   Two examples of an Arctic Redpoll. I prefer to the picture with the snowflakes. Telephoto lens shot.

   Two similar photos (taken in the same tree): one picture of a Siberian Tit and one picture of an Arctic Redpoll. A lot of habitat: nice! Telephoto lens shot.

Wide angle shot.  I deliberately put the photographer in the frame of the picture. Barred Owl (lured with food).

A marital quarrel in the English grass. Fulmars, telephoto lens shot.