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The Trickery of Helios

It always amazes me how much impact the sun has on how we perceive things. After all, everything that we see is just reflections of the white light available from the sun. Save for a few special instances of bioluminescence of course. With the sun lighting the scene evenly, it’s relatively easy to figure out how what you see will be rendered on the camera. A Pied Water Tyrant perched in full bright sunlight looks exactly as it did in real life.

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Angled light isn’t something I usually enjoy working with, as it’s mostly touch and go for the most part. For this pair of Orange-winged Amazons, I decided to forgo my need for even lighting, instead opting to remain where I was as this was the only way I’d be able to get both birds in the frame. What this image illustrates perfectly is what different angles of light can do (or not do) for your subject. Look closely at the eyes of both birds. Why do they differ?

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The real trickery of the sun comes into play when we’re dealing with direct vs indirect light. There is so much we cannot know – and I use the word “cannot” deliberately, as certain things are just plain out of our perception spectrum. In direct light, the defining characteristic of this roaring Rainbow Whiptail is its stripes.

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When some clouds drifted in front of the sun, though, the same lizard seemed like an entirely different creature in the cool diffuse light. It’s only then I realized how it got its name.

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7 thoughts on “The Trickery of Helios

  1. I had been putting off reading your blogs because I did not have coffee in hand. Now I’ve got coffee and a pair of OWs.

    You can clearly see the iris of the left parrot’s eye. It would be amazing to see an eye-blazing photo.

    Why was the lizard’s mouth open? Was it part of increasing body temperature or was it responding to a stimulus?

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