Western Crowned-Pigeon (Captive)


This pigeon comes from the island of New Guinea.  I photographed it at the National Zoo in DC.  One of the tough things about zoo photography is finding an uncluttered background.  Light fixtures, and other man made objects can be very distracting.  In this particular habitat, I noticed a little rocky area in the shade about 30 feet behind the bird.  By "composing with my feet" I was able to position myself to take advantage of the clean background. To make sure I blurred the rocks sufficiently, I used a wide aperture of f5.6.  Since the bird was in the light, and the rocks were in the shade, I exposed for the bird and let the background go dark at around -2.  This allowed me to bring attention to the bird's beautiful feather detail. 

Camera settings: Tripod mounted 400mm lens, Canon 40D at ISO 800, 1/125, f5.6. 


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