The Second Subject: Meaning in the Zoom

Sure, it’s obvious, but the easiest way to turn a bird’s habitat into the second subject of a photo is to zoom out and let the habitat fill the photo. The ratio of bird to habitat can send a strong signal about your intention for the photo. Below are two pairs of photos showcasing the same scene in a different way. When zoomed in to focus on the birds, you actually don’t see the pond (egret photo) or the mangroves (group of birds photo). When zoomed out, the individual birds can become very small. Sometimes one will be clearly stronger than the other. Sometimes both photos work, but for different reasons.

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It’s also worth mentioning that it is really easy to get caught up in getting that perfect close-up shot of a bird. Often, that shot is the most powerful one you can get. But sometimes it’s worth it to zoom out and capture a broader perspective. Luckily, there’s no rule against doing both!

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