Birds Noisily Flocking in the Wetlands by Cyrene Krey

Nygren Wetland Preserve

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While it’s almost always better to visit a location for an extended period of time, sometimes I’m not able to stop and stay at a particular place for very long. It can feel disappointing to worry about missing out on incredible sights because I have to leave early, but it’s great motivation for going back! One such recent brief trip was to Nygren Wetland Preserve. I was only able to spend about fifteen minutes there on the observation deck overlooking some of the wetlands and go for a very short walk along one of the mowed trails. But I didn’t walk away empty-handed!

Birds Noisily Flocking in the Wetlands by Cyrene Krey
Photographers often discuss the supposed “golden hours,” which are the best times of the day to do outdoors photography. These times are right around sunset and sunrise. While not always feasible, it is always worth it, especially in wildlife photography. I went right around sunset, just as the birds were gathering in the wetlands for last minute snacks before heading off to roost for the night.
Bird Bad Hair Day by Cyrene Krey
I encountered this frazzled parent as I was being rushed back to my car. Clearly raising children isn’t an easy task…just look at the bad hair day this overworked parent is having! Robins are beautiful birds and can be seen all over the place. Glance out a window and you’re likely to find them in your own backyard.
Wiry Branches in Calm Water by Cyrene Krey
An important part of being a photographer is seeking out and accepting critiques of your work. In an online forum I participate in, another photographer suggested I turn one of my photos into a high contrast black and white, something I don’t frequently do. With this particular image, it was a fantastic suggestion. The stark contrast of the tree branches and water added a nice texture to the image it was lacking before, adding a lovely artistic element. Bonus points if you can spot the turtle and frog hiding on the branches!

I’m excited about the new direction my photography is taking. The reason I’ve been taking more frequent short trips is out is because I’m practicing with some new gear and it’s going great! There’s nothing quite like that new camera smell 😉

If you would love to stay up-to-date on my work, please head over to my Facebook page and give it a like! If you want to see one of my prints hanging on your wall, please visit my website at www.cyrenekrey.com to see what’s available for purchase. More from this visit is available for viewing and purchase on my website. On each and every print I sell, I donate a portion to support causes that support wildlife. Please check it out!

Also, be sure to support your own local restored habitats. If you live in northern Illinois, check out all that the Natural Land Institute is doing for our resident wildlife!

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Mourning Dove Silhouette by Cyrene Krey

Less Literal, More Artistic

Wildlife photography doesn’t always have to be about an obvious, literal photograph of an animal or natural landscape. Sometimes it’s worth it to get creative in a different way. Sometimes I talk to people who don’t realize that wildlife photography (or photography in general) is as much of an art as any other. Photographers are artists too. Just like every other artist, we spend years honing our skills through practice and study. One perfect shot can take hours of preparation, days (or weeks, months, or years depending on the shot) of looking for (and getting to) the perfect location and waiting until everything is just right. It requires knowledge of more than just button-pushing to take a picture. Wildlife photographers have to know the terrain, the animals they’re photographing, lighting, the technical capabilities of their gear, and their own limitations. It’s hard work. And it’s a lot of fun. Sometimes I like to get away from the literal photos of bugs and birds and do something a little different.

Forest Preserve in Winter
For this shot, I wanted something a little harsher so I overexposed this winter scene. My goal was to capture the feel of cold and desolation, the harshness that still remained despite the melting snow. Overexposing caused more work for me post-processing, but it was worth it to get the feel I wanted.
Mourning Dove Silhouette by Cyrene Krey
A silhouette of a mourning dove in black and white is still fairly literal. It’s a nice mix of a more expected wildlife shot and something of a slightly different type of creativity. The sunlight wasn’t doing what I wanted it to and instead of settling for a mediocre bird photograph, I decided to do something a little more impactful and underexposed the dove to end up with just her silhouette. Changing the photo to grayscale also made it a little moodier. (c) Cyrene Krey
Purple Flowers Against Green
It’s pretty obvious this one isn’t intended to be a typical landscape shot :p Originally that’s exactly what I wanted though. I loved the purple of the flowers against the green background but none of the photos had the impact I was looking for. I decided to go crazy with the colors to get that impact and ended up loving the painting feel of the photo more than the other shots I’d taken of the same scene.
Abstract Water on Rocks by Cyrene Krey
I feel like this one should technically be considered a more literal photo because it really is just a shot into a creek. But the closeup of the rocks and the way the sunlight is playing off the water forms more abstract patterns than what you’d usually find in a nature photo. Even the small fish that I saw swimming around are just abstract blurs in the finished product. And I love it :p (c) Cyrene Krey

All of these photos were shot at Clayton Andrews Forest Preserve of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District in northern Illinois. For more wildlife photography tips, read my blog post on backyard wildlife photography. To see some of these and other photos available for purchase, please visit my website at http://www.cyrenekrey.com. Also, I’m now on Facebook! Like me! 😀