Birds, Backlight and Ossian Lindholm

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Intro by Skip Cohen

It’s another stunning image and a great tip from Ossian Lindholm. While the instructional side of this is pretty simple, the part that will make your images more professional is learning to see the light. My good buddy, Joe Buissink, has talked about how he often looks at things in everyday life when he’s out. He’ll often hold up two hands with his thumbs and index fingers, making a cropping square and then say “click” in the back of his mind as he’s observing a scene. 

Learning to see the light. along with understanding composition and exposure, are just a few of the things you’ll enjoy on a trip with Ossian. There’s a great trip coming up, Vision and Vine, November 5 – 13 in Argentina. And, don’t forget, along with photography comes great food, learning about some of Argentina’s finest vineyards, great hotels and the comradery you only get with a small group of travelers.

Lauren Hefferon, founder of Travel Vision Journeys and Ciclismo Classico has created a special FOS (Friends of Skip) $1000 per couple discount. It’s only available for a short time, so you need to contact her directly if you’ve got an interest. This is a pretty amazing trip. “Vision and Vine” made National Geographic Travelers Top 50 Tours of a Life Time for 2015 and when you hear more about the trip, it’s easy to understand why. 

Finding out more about the trip is just a phone call to Lauren away – 617-640-4837.


by Ossian Lindholm

We’ve all seen, and captured ourselves, plenty of images of birds nesting, sitting on a tree limb or simply flying overhead.  It’s not a difficult subject to photograph if you have the right lens and set up. To shoot a bird in flight, you need to set your camera up with a high shutter speed to start. I like to shoot in burst mode (continuos shooting), which will give me an opportunity to capture several frames in rapid succession. The last obvious component is a telephoto lens.  Put all of this together and you’re just about guaranteed a great shot. 

Now, let’s throw in one more ingredient – backlight.  Backlight doesn’t just magically appear in the wild the same way it can in a studio. While you have little control, you do have the ability to increase your odds by shooting early or late in the day to start. Second, you need to be looking for it. You need to learn to see the light on your wildlife subjects the same way great portrait or commercial shooters create and see the light on their subjects. 

The image above was taken in a lagoon in the Andes of the Northwest of Argentina where the Andean Flamingos stay during the summer.  The backlight brings out more detail in the bird as it shines through the feathers, and the edge light gives the image more perspective against the water. Plus, there’s a bonus I loved in this image, the bird’s shadow on the water. 

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