Exposure is the single most important part of a photograph, but you must remember that it is your choice what type of exposure you use. Some birds’ plumage can appear almost jet black, and a starling is a good example… but starlings are, in fact, covered in tiny white spots and their plumage has a beautiful iridescence when caught in the right light.
Capturing the spots and the iridescence is even more difficult when the bird is on snow, so I chose to use what is termed ‘high key exposure’ – in other words, ignoring the highlights (usually the most important part of the image in digital photography) and allowing these to become almost totally white. This increased the exposure on the dark areas, adding more detail and showing more of the beautiful colours.
Taken with a Nikon D300, 500 mm lens, in December 2010.
Image copyright © Colin Woolf