Backgrounds & Choices


The combination of background and available light affects the outcome of a photograph. Birds are adept at camouflage, and our cameras are great at hiding the subject. The photo above is a corn field and 7 sandhill cranes. The coloration of the cranes allows them to blend into the remaining brown corn stalks, and almost disappear.

The late afternoon lighting leaves long shadows for these cranes to blend into the field.


In this photo of the trumpeter swans, the dark background helps the swans stand-out as the subject of the image. The swans are in shade (similar to the crane photo above), and their coloring allows them to be easily differentiated from the trees in the background.

Both of these images are taken with a 600 mm lens, yet the ease of see the subject is dependent on the background and exposure. Both are shot at F8. The difference is the location of the birds with the background. The cranes are in the field. The swans are flying past the trees.


This last photo has the simplest background. The solid blue sky offers a background to easily see the subject, 2 sandhill cranes in flight.

Background choices can help or hinder the success of a photograph. Ultimately, it is dependent on opportunity, exposure, and choices made by the photographer.

Tip – Use backgrounds for your subjects that help convey the vision of the photograph.

Visualize ~ Create ~ Evoke

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