BAD goes head to head

Over on G+ a small exchange of thoughts has been underway about whether it works aesthetically to take head-on photos of birds. I had a rummage through my old Gamages catalogue and found quite a few eyeball shots – or thereabouts. Very few of these have seen the light of day. They generally look odd. Occasionally the hostile stare of a bird is captured, glaring at the importunate photographer and it has the desired effect. Mostly though they fall into the ‘nearly’ category. ย I was mulling over in the recesses of my mind whether this has something to do with the brain’s ability to see in 3D whereas for all the advances in digital photography we still have flat 2D images.

The bird that I know will always take me on is the Light-vented or Chinese Bulbul. Probably the commonest garden bird we have but always good for entertainment. They are highly social birds. Sometimes I see flocks of 30 or 40, maybe more. And they make a real din. Like children in the playground they just love to chatter. Maybe they play tag as juveniles. They are undoubtedly the cheeky chappies of the garden. The Max Miller of the bird world. Now there’s a funny thing. I’m sure they tell dirty jokes and probably go for a quick ciggie behind the fruiting tree, joking all the time. They push and shove one another, elbowing for room on the branch, sometimes fluttering up with a squawk of indignation before landing again in a state of high dudgeon.

Anyway, here is a small selection of images taken going head to head – more or less – with the garden scallywags.Surrender

Light-vented Bulbul


Chinese-bulbulAnd just to prove its not always head to head well…… Bulbuls behaving badly.Mooning bulbulsAnd that’s your lot. Be thankful.


19 thoughts on “BAD goes head to head

  1. Head shots work for me…although my personal connection with a head shot usually results in a head ache. Damn that branch.
    Number three almost seems a studio setup for a boudoir shot. ๐Ÿ™‚ Lovely. Bright reds are always attention getters.
    I like Jenny’s caption for number one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I liked number two. Def a cheeky chappie. But my concentration was gone when you mentioned the other cc, because all I could think of was birds in passage, or being tossed in the breeze. You get the idea. I couldn’t think of anything cleverer ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I haven’t seen the G+ discussions. But I can sympathize with the difficulties of getting head-on shots that satisfy all the aesthetic desires. Even with other subjects, like people, straight on headshots are rarely as pleasing as ones with a slight angle
    On the other hand if part of the photographic goal is to represent an idea of the bird, not just an image, these character shots you included today succeed beautifully.
    The concept of aesthetically satisfying will always be subjective. There can never be absolute rules. Interesting post again today Andrew.
    I loved the last ones. bulbuls mooning Andrew. Take that paparazzi.

  4. That’s a great one Andrew… they seem to enjoy life to the fullest and a have a lot to say to the big lenses… ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Great stuff – the first one reminds me of my church choirmaster of 40+ years ago. (I don’t think anyone followed the timing of his arms, they simply lip-synced with his mouthing of the words!
    I know a head on shot would not take a prize in our local photo club competition if it was entered in a ‘Natural History’ category – but if they show the character of a bird what more could you want?

I'd be delighted to hear what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s