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How I Got the Shot: Mourning Dove in Snowfall

Title:
Mourning dove hunkering down in a snowfall, near Tupper Lake

Exposure Data:
1/640 SEC, F/5.3, ISO 1600
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 80-400 mm lens, set at 300 mm.

Caption:
As fresh snow gathers on its shoulders, a mourning dove hunkers down and puffs out its feathers against the cold. There is great beauty to be found even in commonplace subjects. Note the subtle coloring of the dove’s feathers, its blue beak and ring around the eye, the downy softness of its chest. The bird’s colors are mirrored by those of the background: subtle grays and dark greens, pinks and blacks.  And the dark tonal palette reflects the mood of the scene.

I shot this with a telephoto lens through a glass window from inside a house. It was late afternoon. The subdued lighting forced me to boost the ISO to gather light quickly enough to shoot at a fast shutter speed and prevent motion blur from handholding the camera. This also froze some snow in mid-air. The wide aperture blurred the background so that it doesn’t compete with the bird, and the shallow depth of field enhances the quaint intimacy of this precious moment. 

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute. He is a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations to camera clubs, environmental groups and others. API’s 2015 workshop schedule is listed on their website, www.adkpi.org. For more on Mark’s work, visit his website, www.markbowie.com.

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