• 17.5 x 26.25 in / Edition of 20
• 23.5 x 35.25 in / Edition of 20
• 35.5 x 53.25 in / Edition of 20
• 43.5 x 65.25 in / Edition of 10

FINISHING OPTIONS: Unframed or Plexiglass.


Social media is fraught with images of people’s plans, dreams, and aspirations. It can be unpleasant to go from looking at pictures of birds to suddenly being reminded that you’re not achieving as much as another person. For all you know, you could be just as successful and well deserving of praise, you may just not post images of it anywhere. It can be tempting to feel like you have to remind the world who you are, what you look like, and what all you’ve accomplished. After all, that’s what all of your friends are doing. You don’t want to seem like you’re not doing big things either. However, this mentality can be very taxing in the long run.

Many of us may have felt the social media burnout that motivates a social media break. In times like those, it is important to stay grounded in what is important to you and to remember not to compare yourself to others. An image on social media is never the whole picture.

Flying Against the Grain

Sometimes with my camera, I can go out and not necessarily have an intention for my black and white bird pictures. I was observing some water birds one lazy summer evening. It was a form of catharsis to just sit at peace with my camera and shoot whatever piqued my interest. If some good black and white bird pictures came of it then great, if not I would have just tried again later. It can be hard to capture specific pictures of birds so I often find myself creating bird art that I had no intention of coming back with.

Droves of seagulls plunged in and out of the salty seawater as they scooped up fish for their dinner. It’s a scene seen in many bird pics before. They were a loud and chaotic bunch that was hard to ignore but I wasn’t too keen about them. Flying high above my head, they would abruptly dive down into the water, in what looked like a completely erratic fashion. They would often bob back up to the surface with empty beaks but little disappointment. They’d float about for a second to catch their breaths and take off with such gusto it would appear that they had been successful in their hunt. The seagulls would repeat this routine until they finally did catch a prize.

They would scarf it down with little discretion and instantly be on the prowl for more. However, their technique proved to be rather inefficient at producing consistent results. While the splashing water and energetic birds would have made for some interesting bird art, I wasn’t sold. So many black and white bird pictures seemed to use the same elements. I wanted pictures of birds that didn’t tell the same narrative I typically told and that perhaps explored something different.

I stepped away from the seagulls and their antics and browsed the shore for other birds. My eyes were set on a brown pelican. It was much bigger than the seagulls and had an almost cartoonish build. It’s large yellow beak looked like a caricature of a bird rather than a real animal flying in front of me. It didn’t seem like the most elegant bird to grace black and white bird pictures. But it certainly had my attention. She was trying to fill her belly with fish as well, but you would not have been able to tell if you used the seagulls as an example.

She looked like she wasn’t even playing the same game, but she might have actually been playing it better. Her strategy seemed to involve flying low for long periods of time. She would analyze the water beneath her wings carefully, flying past more than once. Once she had assessed the water, she would drop down a few feet and scoop up the fish she had targeted. The fish from the surface would flail around violently in her beak’s pouch before being gulped down. 

The Same Game

The bird ended up with a rather satisfying harvest of fish, despite her long wait. She definitely had a different approach to the same task as her smaller neighbors. However, she had a focused game plan that may have gone against the grain but was very effective. That’s all that mattered to her at the end of the day. She went back to roost with a full belly long before the seagulls did. What got to me was the fact that this pelican never concerned herself with the seagulls were doing and could not have compared herself to them.

They were different animals who may have been playing the same game but could not play it the same way. There could never be a contest, so why worry? That made for a much better narrative for my black and white bird pictures. I’m happy to have brought this pelican into my gallery of bird art.

Enjoy more bird photos of BALD EAGLES and SNOWY OWLS

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