Paul Smith  

Geese and Reflections by Paul Smith

May 2022 - Geese and Reflections

About the Image(s)

On the first sunny day in a while, several of us local Camera Club members took a stroll through the village of Loveland, Colorado, in search of Street Photography opportunities. On the way, I came across a shallow, still partially frozen pond shown nearby. The ducks and geese paid little attention to us; instead chose to nap in the warming sunshine. Where the ice had melted, we see the reddish mud bottom and the bird’s reflection. This is not intended as an abstract, although it looks the part. Canon 90D, Canon EFS 17 - 85 lens, hand held.

12 comments posted

Dawn Gulino
Paul, love the reflection here, I was wondering how it was that color, interesting it's from below the water! I'm guessing you used a fast shutter speed to freeze if there was any movement, if so, nice choice. Nice picture!   Posted: 05/07/2022 13:26:53
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Thank you. Yes, I shot this at 1/500th. The color is from the reddish mud that makes up the pool bottom.   Posted: 05/09/2022 11:41:19

Darcy Quimby   Darcy Quimby
I've come back to this numerous times before posting. This has grown on me. I like the fact that you have an odd number of subjects with the lone mallard. You also have the abstract of the mud that is interesting. I might have cloned out the feathers of the doc on the left side of the photo.   Posted: 05/17/2022 15:42:13

Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
Hi, Paul. For this round I'm undertaking to review each image after viewing only the image and its title, but not the accompanying description. Once I post my comments, I'll turn to the description and others' comments.

As I've admitted when commenting on the other bird images in this round, I confess that I don't find myself emotionally involved in bird images. That's just a reflection on me, not on the image.

This image does catch the eye, primarily (I suspect) because of the gorgeous oranges, the striking dark brown / orange contrast, and the sinuousness of the curves. That is, it seems to be the reflections that draw the eye.

The image also captures a point in time in the changing of the seasons that is fleeting, when the ice is thin. Or at least I'm guessing, having not read the narrative, that such is the case.

As much as I enjoy, and my eye as drawn to, the reflections, I find my eye is confounded by the geese themselves. I think this is because the composition is messy. The birds are all (as is natural) contorting their necks into confusing positions. Of the three birds on the left, one is only partially visible. This really confuses the eye at first. Of the two birds on the right, the one in front is facing directly away from us, and the eye is struck by the bright orange feet, which again are initially confusing.

Now, I get it; nature doesn't always give us a nice, neat scene to capture, so I don't fault the maker for the messiness of a scene, and sometimes the complexity of, or disorder in, a scene is the story one wishes to tell. I find, though, these days, that when I contemplate a complicated scene, I try to remember that my *brain* is seeing something quite different than what the brutally honest camera will record. I've learned a couple of tools to help me set aside my cognitive understanding of a scene: one is to squint; the other is to close my eyes for a few seconds, and then open them only briefly (say less than a second), and then close them again.

As is my wont, I did "fiddle around" with a variety of crops, and each seemed to have merit, but none was wholly satisfying to me. The ones I found I liked the best were abstract, constrained to the reflection; these of course tell a very different story than the one you intended.
  Posted: 05/18/2022 19:58:59
Mark Bargen   Mark Bargen
So now I've gone back and read your narrative. You wrote that it's not intended as an abstract image, and so I might suggest you experiment with simplifying it by cropping the right side ...

Thinking more about the image, it also occurs to me that part of what makes it challenging to the viewer is exactly that: part of it is an abstract, and part of it is more of a nature image.

Also, I may not have expressed well enough one thought: I really like the orange! It's very evocative.   Posted: 05/18/2022 20:03:39
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
As for me, the combination of "abstract, along with nature" makes the scene! One without the other is uninteresting!   Posted: 05/19/2022 15:32:30
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
I do enjoy your comments...always helpful   Posted: 05/19/2022 15:29:38

Neil Bellenie
This is a picture that I can look at for a long time. The areas of bright and subdued color, the natural appearance of the gaggle of geese (Is 4 a gaggle?)

It takes a while to figure out what is going - What are the geese standing on? How is it that you can see the orange mud so clearly? How are the reflections stylized by the distortions? Why is the duck hanging out with geese and pranking them by goose stepping by?

If I had taken this picture it would be hanging on a wall in my living room. One of the most interesting photos I have seen.   Posted: 05/20/2022 14:34:32
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Thank you for your kind comments. "Gaggle" does qualify here...because this "collection" of geese is "not in flight". The birds are standing/resting on thin ice...literally! I cannot explain the abstract reflection, although it was the "abstract' that caught my eye. The duck told me he had been shunned by his own tribe, so he was hanging out with the geese. Again, thanks for your remarks.   Posted: 05/21/2022 16:02:42

Ed O’Rourke   Ed O’Rourke
The two things that strike me most about this photo is the very sharp focus and depth of field, which allows me to see lots of detail, and the high level of color contrast with the reddish orange in the foreground, the grayish white in the background and then the color of the geese and duck in the middle. I like the way the reflections in the water are distorted which for me creates a higher level of interest. The apparent random positioning of the duck and geese adds a bit of disorder to the image and for me also increased the interest. While this is not an abstract image the composition and seemingly disoriented positioning of the key elements does make me think of it along the lines of an abstract. I like it.   Posted: 05/20/2022 18:13:26
Paul Smith   Paul Smith
Thank you for noticing the sharper focus. My images have been suffering from a "motion blur". In an attempt to correct this, I tried increasing my ISO and my SS, and by converting from Av to Tv. The reflections were the eye grabbing feature of this scene. I cannot explain them, and they are unusual. I appreciate your kind comments.   Posted: 05/21/2022 16:11:04

Kelly Easler
Paul, I love this! How unique! The reflection is amazing. also I love the sunny sparkle on the melting ice and the razor sharp clarity. The colors on that one little duck are gorgeous! I'm late to the reviews again and am just piggy-backing, but I agree with Darcy on removing that little bit of distracting goose on the left. My eyes want a little more of the ice on the top so the geese aren't as crowded, but I have no idea what you might've been avoiding above them.   Posted: 05/23/2022 10:19:51


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