Daniel Pettersson Photography


For my portfolio, I’ve chosen a range of my personal favorite bird images taken from 2006 and onwards.

My style of photography is quite simplistic and based on a general set of rules that I rarely break. Growing up in a birdwatching family in the 90’s I read a lot of field guides and my inspiration comes a lot from the style those books were painted back then. Two field guides, ”Fåglar i Europa” (Birds of Europe) painted by Lars Jonsson and Collins Bird Guide by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterström influenced me a lot and still today are benchmarks for how I try to create my own photographs of birds.

Taking the photos however, is far from simple. Over the years, I’ve developed a very specific taste for slightly overcast conditions and the light just before and after the sunrise and sunset. It makes it easier to bring out colors when the light isn’t too harsh and allows a wider range of colors to appear, a bit like how studio photographers work with soft-boxes and flashes.

I prefer a real challenge and usually create quite situations with a lot of creativity and specific equipment. The rarer, more difficult and seldom photographed a bird species is, the more interesting it gets. I regularly use dry suits, waders, floating blinds, camouflage nets and blinds. I can sit still in freezing cold water for hours, I climb trees and ladders, I handhold lenses hanging from a bridge to get closer to the waters edge. I basically do anything needed to get the images I want.

A typical example of a portrait I like, with a warm, soft light in a low angle, level with the bird, framed by multiple layers of fore- and background.

There are some components in the images I really like that I try to stick to:
I never photograph a bird with a distracting background. Neither light or structure should take away any focus from the bird.
– I’m always level with my subjects at any cost, to maximize the framing of the bird, with a smooth foreground and a proper distance to the background and to show just as much of the belly as the back – just like in field guides.
– I’m always trying to work with multiple fore- and background layers in an image, to maximize ”bokeh” (which in Japanese kind of means blurred backdrops) and create a pastel-like feeling in the image.
– The subject’s head angle most look into, or be level with the angle of the lens. The birds can never look away.
– I position myself to avoid shades in the image, at any cost (usually this means getting dirty, uncomfortable, or both).

You can also view my portfolio at my Flickr site, here.

© 2024 Daniel Pettersson Photography

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