Looking through things that get in your way

What do you do if there’s something blocking your view? You look through it.

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Purple Swamphen chick

When something is badly out of focus, like the foreground reeds in this photo of a young Purple Swamphen, they blur away into a smear of colour that a camera can see through. Well, I should be more careful here — the camera isn’t really seeing through some reeds but is seeing through the blur from their edges. That needn’t be a bad thing either. In cases like this the blur provides a soft border that draws even more attention to that cute ball of avian fluff in the middle.

So next time you’re faced with something blocking your view try putting your camera right up to it and use the resulting blur as a feature in your composition.

Oh yeah — one last thing: some photographers carry a pair of scissors in their camera bag to cut away foreground foliage in situations like this one. I don’t like that idea. Foliage around a nest hides vulnerable chicks from the attention of things that eat them. That’s why I left these reeds where they were.

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Beginners’ guides to digital SLR photography


Before you start


The essential basics


Making sense of technical stuff

Photography words

Photography words explained


Sneaky stuff


Common problems and their solutions

Preying mantis

Taking things further


Photography at night

Other photography stuff

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