Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter Harbor II Colors

Sometimes Karen comes home with photos having the strangest backgrounds — reflections of whatever lays beyond her subject — especially when she’s aiming her camera towards water.  Normally, this isn’t a problem in wildlife photography — unless you’re photographing a raven sitting on a green dumpster or you find some inconsiderate person’s beer can in the image’s background when you download it onto your computer.  

                              Petersburg's South Harbor offers a wealth of background colors.

The difference is — Petersburg’s harbors in no way resemble nature.  Here you find boats, mostly commercial fishing vessels, painted in a wide array of colors — from a somewhat menacing black to first-responder red to electric blue, even rust.  Should I include a pea soup-green fish-processing cannery?  Here, they turn reflections across the harbor’s water into a myriad of colors — definitely not something natural.

Now float a bird or even seal amidst those colors and viola, you have the most surreal wildlife photo.  In other instances our low-angle winter sun, maybe blazing onto a snow-covered mountain, or even our rare blue skies expand that varied palette reflecting off the water.  Add the ripple of waves and you have your subject resting in an abstract painting.

                                 A male Barrow's Goldeneye in the most unreal setting.

Of course Karen did not set out to capture unreal images.  The birds decided where she would photograph them, but you can be sure few of these images would make the cut in a photo book of Alaskan birds.  

Is this long-tailed duck (formerly known as oldsquaw until the group of poobahs who name birds decided to change it) backed by a boat or sky reflections?

And since I’m not good at resisting temptation, why not include a couple of  Karen’s photos of birds that, in themselves, provide an unreal level of color.  While the females of most waterfowl species are well camouflaged, this is certainly not the case with the males.  Since their role in propagating the species is limited to looking pretty for the “girls” — a couple of moments to pass on their genes, and poof, think I’ll pass on the parenting responsibilities — perhaps they’re more expendable.  It certainly seems a brightly colored mallard drake would be an easier target for a hungry predator than his camo-clad mate.

So here some of Karen’s latest colorful winter harbor creations.

                          Guess there's no question where Karen found this male long-tailed duck

   Low-angle sun shinning through morning fog created an atmospheric background for this bufflehead.

                           It looks like a bit of a mix of background colors for this pair of greater scaup.

                                         A another pair -- this time Barrow's goldeneyes.

         Two males, a surf scoter and a Barrow's goldeneye, emerge out of a sunlit foggy background

                       These barnacle-clad piling don't even need a bird to be appealing.

                                                         Then again, this great-blue heron helps

                It looks like blue sky for this surf scoter, but how can it hide with a bill like that.

                                       What lady duck could resist this American wigeon?

This mallard drake shows the trade off -- attract the "ladies" or predators.  Judging at how successful mallards are, it looks like the "ladies" win.

                       Then again put them in this harbor reflection and does it even matter?

Oh, bet you thought I forgot the raven.  Karen just zeroed in on a head shot.  Viola, no dumpster.  Now we're not sure about the white flecks on it.  We hope it hadn't been roosting below a pigeon. 


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