Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 256 - A bird in hand...

This is reportage photography at its best. You've got your camera with you, you see something unusual and you take the best photos you can as the scene plays out.

In this case, a pigeon (yes, another pigeon) decided to wander into the Second Cup outlet in King's Place Mall in downtown Fredericton. It apparently got trapped in the window, looking with a sense of yearning out at freedom on the street. Two slightly frazzled baristas tried to figure out what to do. Eventually, one of them got the idea to try to wrap the bird in a towel (top photograph) and carry it outside (bottom photograph).

As so often happens with reportage photography, the actual pictures are far from perfect. I had only a few seconds to get the camera up and operational as the brave barista swept in with the towel so I couldn't do much to address the reflection of the window that interferes with your ability to see the pigeon inside the store (top shot).

I'm relatively pleased with the photo of the young women releasing the bird from the towel in the court outside the doors to the mall but I wish I had had the time to adjust the Olympus to its "burst" setting, which sees the camera take five or six pictures in rapid succession. With burst, I might have gotten a better shot of the pigeon spreading its wings as the towel falls away, with the barista's concerned face still tight in the shot.

Of course, I also would have liked to have a little more time to get the focus right. While the bottom photo is not bad, it's not as crisp as I would have liked it to be. That's because the young woman is moving fairly quickly with the bird in her hands and the pigeon, of course, is anxious to get free again. The rapid movements are too much for the camera's autofocus function, especially in the shady conditions near the mall doors.

These photos would be fine in a newspaper, where the printing process would further mask the deficiencies in focus and framing. People would look at the shots more for what's in them than for their artistic merit. To me, they still tell an interesting story, flawed as they are. But we can always wish that things were slightly better, can't we?

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