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  • Writer's pictureStephen Rodger


Updated: May 10, 2020

Do you want to shoot different wildlife pictures? Pictures that have a visual edge. Pictures that stand out. That get people talking. Read on...

Hi! Like the picture above? Do you "love" or "hate" it? Hopefully you sit in either of the two camps. A long time ago I was told the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. I always try to avoid taking pictures that leave people indifferent. Indifferent is bland, it's boring, it's meh!

There is a world over-supply of "bird-on-a-stick" pictures. Take a risk. Do something different.

These pictures are from a series I recently shot with the idea of taking a fresh look at some common wildlife. In this case seagulls. Which are about as ubiquitous as you can get. At the back of my mind was the idea that photographic competitions are always looking for environmental category submissions, and with the world the way it is, this is a category likely to grow in importance in the coming years.

On the face of it, a petro-chemical factory is about as far from a promising place to start pursuing wildlife photography as you can get.

After a few trips down to the site it was possible to see that early in the morning there was strong side-lighting which gave real depth to the clouds of steam being produced there. It was also apparent that not being an obviously "pretty" environment meant there were few humans there, and a correspondingly large amount of wildlife.

My personal style is that I like quite clean pictures, simple shapes, a strong point of focus etc. Because I was shooting in an industrial setting I shot in black & white to simplify all the pictures. The intention was also to draw out the difference in scale between the bird in the picture and the colossal size of this industrial plant. Again, because I like quite simple pictures I chose to just have the one bird in each image of my series.

If you're interested in seeing more from this series take a look under PROJECTS on this site and you'll find them in Bladerunner. Oh, and BTW one of those pictures from the wider series did subsequently win the Environmental Category in a national photographic competition. I'm not saying which one though. Maybe it's one you like, or hate? That's the point though, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that you've stepped outside the run-of-the-mill and produced something striking. Give it a go. Do something different.

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