Pelicans in the Desert

Who knew there were pelicans on the lakes in New Mexico?  Not me, but I was pleasantly surprised to see them.  There were dozens this day.

pelicans in sun

But what I see when I look at these point-and-shoot shots are the possibilities that I missed.  I do have a DSLR but I don’t always have it with me.  I’m thinking that HDR might have helped this, but I don’t have that in my skills repertory yet.  I will not invest in more equipment until I learn more about what I already have.  Back to the lessons.

pelicans in sun 2

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10 Responses to Pelicans in the Desert

  1. Frank says:

    Donna, you did just fine: no DSLR nor HDR technique is going to balance the dynamic range when shooting directly into the sun. A nice silhouette is a worthy result here. Pelicans are a very photogenic bird. They are so graceful in flight. They migrate through NE too and some spend their summers here.

  2. Barry Lively says:

    It’s a very good idea to keep working on the skills repertoire before investing too much in a lot of software. HDR would not have helped unless the birds were still or moving slowly. You would need at least two and more likely three or more shots and the birds would be at a different place in all of the shots. I was faced with the same challenge in a sunset shot recently and by the time I got to the shot that would bring the sun down into the dynamic range of the camera, the sun was partially below the horizon so it didn’t work. Keep shooting!

    • I’ve done a little more research and yes, those birds would have to hold still for HDR! I do need to learn the technique, but for more stationary subjects. Thanks for your comment, Barry.

  3. MK Ray says:

    When I see Pelicans flying, because they are so big and so bright white, I think they are the real diamonds in the sky.

  4. George says:

    I just bought my first DSLR about two months ago — a Canon 60D — and I love it. I bought the 60D to take with me while hiking, and I intend to switch to mostly video when I get a new PC. To keep the weight down, I opted for a Canon 24/2.8 IS USM lens, which is functionally a 38mm with the 60D’s cropped sensor.

    I shoot on Av and use bracketing and that has worked out well because I end up with three images taken at different exposures and usually one of them turns out to be a keeper. When I’m shooting under a tree canopy, I tend to bracket +/- 1/2 stop… shooting out in the open, +/- 2/3 stop, and into the sky, +/- 1 stop. Of course there is no hard rule to follow, you just have to experiment.

    Bracketing is something you might try with your DSLR. The only real negative is when you get home, you have 3x the images to go through. If you are as snap-happy as I am on my hikes, that is a considerable number of images!

    Then again, since I am new to the DSLR world and still learning, I may not even know what I’m talking about!! 🙂

    • I understand bracketing, but rarely did it. This post has forced me to actually read parts of the camera manual! So I now know about (but haven’t used) Auto Exposure Bracketing. I think your method would have given me more and better options than I had. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • I too appreciate very much that comment. I am sitting here with a brand new copy of Lowrie’s field guide to the 60D and now have an inkling where to start. Donna, we’ve had some changes in our lives this year and have not been traveling in the desert. I miss it and appreciate the opportunity to visit through your photos and stories. Warm regards, Viv

    • George says:

      Since my comment is getting a little more attention, I need to correct something. The 60D’s AEB brackets in 1/3 stop increments. So where I said +/- 1/2 stop in my above comment, I should have said +/- 1/3 stop.

  5. Nice. Great informative comments above too!

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