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, thereโ€™s so much thatโ€™s unseenโ€”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 ๐Ÿ˜Šand 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. Wow!
    You have certainly photographed these amazing birds very amazingly, Tina. For me, they are truly exotic as I’m seeing them for the first time ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. How could you even think of us getting tired of your treasures out there, Tina! Beautiful, beautiful. And your favourite bird is also mine this time, even if I love them all. So much detail, so many beautiful eyes. I hope you will get a chance to see that white-faced ibis as well – looking forward to seeing it through your lens.

  3. It’s surprising that birds can change their beak colour. Most of these look like they would make great cartoon characters. My favourite is the one with the crewcut. My fingers are crossed that you will find the white-faced ibis.

  4. No, your followers are not tired of seeing your bird photos. Thanks for sharing them with us, Tina. I see why you were excited to photograph the ibis. What beautiful plumage! We have white-faced ibis near here. They look sort of plain from a distance, but their iridescent feathers are beautiful when you get a closer view. Good luck finding one there.

    • Thanks Siobhan – I’m not really optimistic about finding the other ibis but just seeing my friend’s image was kind of exciting. Such an exotic looking bird!

  5. Wow, Tina. The details in your captures are amazing! Lovely images! What beautiful birds. The little heron has such amazing coloring as well as the glossy ibis. You have a wonderful natural treasure-trove in your backyard!

    • Thanks Patti. Must admit it was a very rewarding visit to their rookery mid-island Patti. The birds were busy nesting and paid me very little attention. Appreciated your challenge theme supporting my posting of some of the images!

  6. Hi Tina

    I love the new masthead photo on your site, such serenity. The erect capfeathers on your Little Blue are striking โ€“ not something you see every day. And you saved the best for last โ€“ awesome Glossy Ibis! We donโ€™t have them here, so thanks for sharing your world.

    Here is my submission for this weekโ€™s challenge:

    Great Blue Heron and Photographer Don’t Let Their Broken Legs Get Them Down (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 18)

    Best, Babsje

  7. Pingback: Great Blue Heron and Photographer Don’t Let Their Broken Legs Get Them Down (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 18) | Babsje Heron

  8. These are stupendous Tina! The anhinga couple are gorgeous, I didn’t know the Little Blue Heron lore/beak goes so incredibly blue, and the Glossy Ibis is magnificent! and good luck with finding the other ibis!

  9. It’s amazing the variety of birds you have down there Tina. Great colors and details and that blue beak really does catch your eye…nice captures ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Andy – we’re very fortunate to have such a large and varied bird population. And especially lucky as photographers that they are fairly used to having people around!

  10. I have been so inspired by your many bird photos and have been trying to capture the local birds as well, with a lot less skill. To reach your level of bird photography takes a long time, and perhaps a lot of patience as well. This year, the one thing I just learned was that in some birds the males and females don’t look all that different (crows, Canada Geese, Bald Eagles) other birds not only have male and female colouring but also had breeding and non-breeding colouring which was a real surprise. The only birds I found locally were the Hooded Merganser ducks but your collection of birds in their full breeding glory is a sight I definitely want to see some day. Great images and I can only imagine how difficult they were to photograph!

    • Thanks so much Elizabeth. I hate to admit it but I was able to get quite close to the birds. They were so busy courting each other they paid me fairly little attention. I was really excited to see them in their breeding plumage.

  11. What fabulous collection of birds! And your photos are beautiful. They would be happy to know how well you have shown them to us. And shown us all the details of their feathers and beaks and all.

  12. Beautiful images Tina, all of them, and the Glossy Ibis capture is especially amazing! ๐Ÿ’–

  13. wonderful birds, Tima. I love the little blue heron. I’ve also never seen such a blue beak before. Small, but very fine collection. Well done!

      • Yes, I guess so. Male birds quite often change colors for attracting a possible partner. Take a look in a birding guide. Nearly all of them have 3-4 images: adults female, fledgling (often similar to adult females), adult male in winter plumage and adult male in splendid dress. Often the splendid dress is accomplished by a change in color of beak, legs or skin around the eye. In this time, males are more easily visible to predators. So they are more exposed and endangered than females (I know, itโ€™s not true for all them like i.e. white herons building their nest in green trees. In this case females are exposed in the same way.)

  14. A thought struck me while looking at your photos; why is it that itโ€™s the male birds which get all dolled up when looking for a mate and itโ€™s the female humans who most often are the ones to shine?

    • An excellent question Sharon! I think humans are the only species where the females make the display – and let’s remember how much work it is to make it happen LOL!

  15. Beautiful details of these birds, Tina. I love the clarity of their eyes and feathers. The poised for flight is an amazing capture!

  16. Stunning shots of the aninga, Tina. No one gets bored looking at your bird pics. You captured their delightful expressions so well. How nice you can see these birds close to home! The ibis is no slouch either! ๐Ÿ˜

  17. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #146 โ€“ Focus on the Details – A.J"s WORLD THINGS.

    • Thanks Margaret! Happily when they are nesting they are a bit more still. The area in which I captured them is very well protected by tall shrubbery as well so they’re a bit less skittish than usual!

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