One of the quickest ways to improve your photography is to regularly take photos and then evaluate them to see where you can improve. This is wherePelicans have many advantages as practice subjects. In coastal areas they are easily found, especially if there is a fish cleaning facility for fishermen.
Their antics while the fishermen are cleaning the fish are quite comical and make great photo subjects.Digital Photography is so much easier. You can see the results of what you are doing almost immediately and adjust the settings you are using on your camera. Photographing pelicans also teaches you yo observe and anticipate what is going to happen next. After a while you can begin to predict what they are going to do.
The contrast of their black and white feathers sets up an exposure challenge exactly the same as a photographer faces at a wedding. Exposing for the white of the bridal dress and the groom’s dark suit means that you have to be very much aware of the correct camera settings for the correct exposure. Sometimes ‘auto’ just doesn’t work.
The pelican is a large bird and you can usually get reasonably close to them because in coastal areas they are used to people. This means that you don’t have to have a long telephoto lens to get a photo that will fill the frame.
Pelicans have different types of feathers and skin textures. This means that in a head shot a great deal of interest is created by the feathers, skin and beak. This type of photograph teaches the advantage of cropping in to get a better composition.
The ‘golden hours’ of sunrise and sunset are wonderful times to photograph pelicans. The slanting rays of the sun shows up the different textures of their feathers and wonderful reflections are created if they are swimming.
It is relatively easy to capture pelicans in flight because they have a flight sequence that is relatively easy to identify. If they are on the water they first flap their wings and then use their webbed feet to assist In the take off. For landing on water the webbed feet are put down and skid along the water. Once again being such a big bird helps the photographer to fill the frame with ease
Pelicans are social animals and usually come together at the beginning and the end of the day. This is another reason to photograph at these times.
As Ansell Adams said “Don’t Take Photographs ,
Happy Snapping ‘Even Easier Digital Photography”