Every shooting experience tells a different story. Each one has a subject and then a bunch of supporting details. With every decision, as a photographer, you make will change the story in the final photograph. When it comes to working with wildlife, things like the foreground and background make a dramatic difference in showing the habitat of where that species lives.
This is the Tiaga sub species of the Spruce Grouse. They live in Boreal forests in the arctic, which is where we found this lone male. You can tell it’s the Tiaga by that Rufous Band on the tips of the tail feathers. This male was displaying looking for a female and was very kind to let us photograph him for a while.
I wanted to show the perspective of this bird in two ways. Since he was cooperative I choose to start with the tripod fully extended and shooting with the D5, 600f/4, and TC-17EII I got a lot of shots. Then after a while I lowered the tripod and shot at ground level. The difference is seen in the background and foreground because you’re changing the focal plane, which is changing the amount of information captured by the depth of field. So why go lower? The Spruce Grouse is a ground bird but most photographs you see are looking down at ground birds. Since this was a cooperative subject, I got low to photograph the bird at his level to show what he sees. It’s a great technique to try when you have a workable subject. Remember it comes back to the story you want to tell.