Lens-Artists Challenge #146 – Focus on the Details


“Leaving out of question the deliberately posed or arranged photograph, it is usually some incidental detail that heightens the effect of a picture”

Bill Brandt

It seems of late it is the birdlife of Kiawah that has been the most frequent draw for my lens. At the risk of boring those who follow me, I’m responding to Patti’s “Focus on the Details” challenge with one more post featuring our avian community. As Mr. Brandt posits above, it truly is the special, incidental detail that draws us in. In my opening example the nesting anhinga couple drew me in with their blue-rimmed eyes and seemingly smiling beaks. The colorful eyes are a characteristic of their breeding plumage.


“Despite all the pictures in the world, there’s so much that’s unseen—people, landscapes, entire regions, small gestures, overlooked details.”

Kay Grannan

I must admit the bird shown above had me stumped. I’ve seen many a great blue heron but had never seen one with such a blue beak. After research, I learned the bird is a LITTLE blue heron, and that the turquoise beak (along with the rust-colored neck) is a characteristic of their breeding plumage. In this image I was drawn to the detail of both the beak and the vertical white feather of the bird’s head.

anhinga, Kiawah, bird

“Every stone, every little perfection, or dilapidation, the most minute detail, which, on an ordinary drawing, would merit no special attention, becomes, on a photograph, worthy of careful study.”

Francis Frith

The anhinga above was not especially fond of my presence, and was more than ready to take off if I’d gotten one step closer. Since our goal as a photographer is to leave nature undisturbed, I backed off immediately after capturing this one. The moment I did so, the bird returned to his normal “at ease” posture. I loved his “crewcut” hairdo 😊and the flight-ready position of his wings.

Glossy Ibis, bird, kiawah, nature

“I find it strangely beautiful that the camera with its inherent clarity of object and detail can produce images that in spite of themselves offer possibilities to be more than they are.”

Joel Meyerowitz

I’ve chosen to save my favorite image of the week for last – a beautifully-colored Glossy Ibis. I captured all of this week’s images in an outing my husband and I made specifically to look for this bird. While typically nondescript, when in his breeding plumage he is quite spectacular. His head and neck are a rusty red, while his tail feathers are a shiny green and blue – almost metallic in appearance. His long beak is accentuated by white stripes which complete his distinctive appearance. In 20+ years here on Kiawah I’d never seen one and was thrilled to find him not far from my home. Now I’m on the lookout for his even more rare cousin, the white-faced ibis which has pink eyes and red legs during breeding season. A friend and fellow-photographer captured one earlier this week and after submitting it to the Department of Nature Resources was told it was only the second time one had been seen in South Carolina. Let the quest begin!

In closing, one more thank you to Priscilla for her “Getting to Know You” challenge, and to those of you who responded. It gave all of us some new insight into our community and the things that are most important to all of us. Next week we’ll have a slight change to our normal schedule and Amy will lead our challenge on her Share and Connect site. In the meanwhile we look forward to seeing the details you choose for this week. Please remember to include a link to Patti’s original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Happy May everyone!

119 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #146 – Focus on the Details

  1. Pingback: Lens-ArtistPC-146-Details – WoollyMuses

    • Many thanks Anita – actually he COULD be a painting his colors are so amazing – but you’d have to catch him during his few weeks of breeding plumage. After that he goes back to his normal monochromatic state.

  2. What a lovely treat today to visit Travels and Trifles. Hope all is well with you. Perhaps there is indeed a light being seen at the end of the tunnel.:-)💕

    • Thanks for your multiple visits and comments Andrew, all greatly appreciated. Yes, it seems here the light is peeking through although others elsewhere are not as fortunate. Hoping we can say the same for everyone very soon.

  3. I absolutely love how you photograph birds. These shots are clear, colorful, and detailed. And I know you keep your promise to leave nature intact. Thanks for getting close, but not too close, and for sharing the awesome details that separate photos from “real” photography, which you do so well.

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