Black-headed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 27 Sept 2013.

A still life?  Really?  Well, one way of looking at this is that, since the camera shutter was only open for 1/1600th of a second, it has effectively frozen this instant in the life and doings of this living being – and so it is “Life”, yes, but it is also “Still” – or, more correctly I suppose, “Stilled”!    And living things e.g. plants can of course be included in still life assemblages – if their movements are too slow to register in the resulting image.

But the real reason for my calling this a still life is that when I looked at the whole of this image and saw this powerfully down-sweeping wing, I was struck by its beauty, and so cropped the image to make it the main feature – with the bird’s head just peeping into the picture to add a little context.  So that, ok, it is a bird in flight, a moving object, but to me it has now become more of a design, or a set piece if you like. 

The fundamental difference between this image and a conventional still life is that it is not supported on anything that we can see, like a table top for example.  All support here is provided by the whirling and invisible air.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

30 Responses to ARCHIVE 594 – STILL LIFE, IN FLIGHT

  1. Excellent capture! Though I hesitate using the rather cliched “capture” when speaking of photographs (something is always lost, no? the moment is gone….), there seems no better way to describe the amazing juncture of focus, awareness and readiness that must have been in place for this image to be made…..


  2. Really like the way you’ve cropped the image. Love the monochrome feel


  3. Beautiful composition Adrian…delightful
    ~ smiles hedy ☺️


  4. Beautiful, Adrian, and I like the crop a lot.


  5. Meanderer says:

    Wonderful – and a pretty unique crop! Love it 🙂


  6. krikitarts says:

    This is one of my very favorites of your gull shots. You really nailed this one.


  7. Wow…Simply stunning brother ❤❤❤


  8. I sure do like the backlighting through the wing.


  9. Jane Lurie says:

    I love this concept and result, Adrian. Your image is exciting and beautiful. “Stilled” life… good one. 🙂


  10. Helen Cherry says:

    Very effective. ! I like this very much. Bird’s wings have such lovely texture


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