I tell people often of the importance I put on background. No, not my background, the background of the subject in my images. In photography, as is true in other 2-D art forms, the entire piece has to be purposeful and effective. When I want the viewer to concentrate on a foreground subject or element, I work to make sure the background will not distract. Better yet, the background should enhance the feeling of the image by either adding clear information or context about the subject, or allude to it more subtly.

In the image below of a mourning dove, the background is distant trees and other brush. It conveys a sense of place without needing texture or detail. It also gives a feeling for season (clearly not winter or fall at least). I choice to compose for color in this background as neither the dove nor the snag that it is perched on have much. A long focal length of 700mm (Canon 500mm f4. plus Canon TC 1.4) gave me a shallow depth of field, especially working wide open at f5.6. This background has a painterly feeling that I like.

Mourning Dove on Snag, Bucks County, PA
Mourning Dove on Snag, Bucks County, PA

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