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No mistake – this winter was not kind to the flimsy rolled reed fencing we installed to disguise our ugly chain link fence. Mother Nature sent just about everything she could to insure its destruction – from shearing high winds to torrential rains to fallen pine branches. I am guessing she was just a wee bit upset at our taking the cheap way out??   

Okay, message received.     

"Top of the Chain" (American Robin, Male) Nikon D300, 1000mm (600mm w/1.7x teleconverter), F/6.7, 1/100s, ISO 1600

Typically, the fence doesn’t make for such a good background for wildlife photography, hence the decorative attempt at covering it. However, in the case of the male robin above, the urban feel somehow seems to fit, dontchathink?   

Happily, the chain link won’t be exposed for long, as durable, commercial-grade bamboo fencing is already making its way here. Let’s hope this higher-end solution meets with Mother Nature’s approval! 🙂


4/11/10 Update

I woke up this morning thinking folks might be feeling a bit left out that Stephen got to see the color version of this shot and they didn’t. I am not one to play favorites so here is the color image for all to compare:

See? I wasn’t lying when I said the color tones were essentially already there. I simply was in the mood for a b&w image yesterday and thought, ‘Hmmm, maybe this one would look cool in b&w’ (yes, I actually do talk to myself!). And it did so perhaps a little bit of color might just be the finishing touch? Bingo! 🙂

Now some people may prefer the color version – fine with me. That is what is so great about photography (and really, art itself) is that it is subjective. We like what we like! I like both but do feel the selective color with b&w emotes a stronger feeling. Below you can vote for your preference!



  1. Lene Lovich’s “Bird Song” comes to mind.

    That is all …..

    No it isn’t; Rupe has questions:

    “Typically, the fence doesn’t make for such a good background for wildlife photography, hence the decorative attempt at covering it.”

    Do I take this to mean the oranges in the photo were enhanced or added? If so, it worked to superb effect, in my humble opinion.

    • Nope, Rupe, the red-oranges in the photo are on the bird as-is (actually downplayed a little to match the b/w tones). What I was alluding to in that statement is an explanation for why we covered the chain link in the first place with the reed fencing. In years past, this fence in it’s chain link form has wrecked many a wildlife shot! Although admittedly a cheap solution, the reed did do its intended duty until Mother Nature destroyed it! Hopefully, I will have the last laugh as the 1″ commercial-grade bamboo should be much more durable (as well as naturally beautiful and photograpically compatible) as compared to the 3/8″ reed! (And in NO WAY is that intended as a challenge to Mother Nature!) 🙂

      In any event, thanks! 🙂

      • I knew your explanation in the main was with regard to the fence, Tracy. Thanks for the further answer to my query.

        Regardless … this is an excellent photo submission.

  2. If it wasn’t for his beak and belly, this could be a b&w photo. You need some SUNSHINE! 🙂
    The bamboo is going to look sooo pretty!

    • Ha! You’re very astute Michaela ‘cuz I did convert it to b&w then brought the touches of red back in (I did like it ALL b&w as well but preferred just that little touch of color). I did this because, for the most part, the original image DID look almost ALL b&w but there was a tone that just didn’t look right.

      We did have sun today but the winds are making things chilly (a BIG change from the 88 degrees on Wed). So not much outside time today, I’m afraid. Nicer tomorrow tho! 🙂

      • Sneaky, aren’t you? 😉 Never would have guessed that you used selective color. Just looks like a gray, dreary day…. which made this a believable color photo.

      • Yeah, I’m sneaky! It really WAS a gray and dreary day – cross my heart! 🙂

  3. usually i despise selective coloring, but i totally believed this was the natural coloring until you outed yourself! i’ll just choose to believe this is a really cool, moody, sooty (loots of doouble oo’s) phootoo that hasn’t been tinkered with, because i like it a lot. if it really was close to these tones anyway, of course i understand! you gotta do what you gotta do.
    was the background really this gray and sad? it’s awesome.

    • Ha! It’s funny, Stephen, I really didn’t think there would be this much controversy as the change was so minimal! Well to me anyways. Yes, the day was gray and dismal which actually worked to my advantage as the Robin really popped in the background.

      I can’t seem to get the link to the color image to work. I’ll e-mail it to you instead.

      I’m glad you like it! I think I was simply in the mood for a sooty photo! 🙂

      • yes, the change was definitely minimal. i don’t hold anything against a selective color photo if you can’t tell that it happened, so this is aces for me! i have a bigger problem when people try to force a photo to be interesting by unnaturally isolating a certain color.

        (though after thinking about it, i’m not sure what the difference is between tweaking a pic with selective coloring and changing a pic to b/w, and i don’t have any problem with b/w. hmmm. this is becoming a bit of a philosophical dilemma for me. i feel like my very identity hangs in the balance.)

        finally, i agree with jan below – the angle of the fence makes the composition. there is something elegant about the fence and the classic tones. once again, i like!

      • Ha! So funny Stephen…I hope this psychological dilemma didn’t keep you up all night! Thanks for your comments! Much appreciated! 🙂

  4. I think the angled gray fence does a lot for the composition of this photo. Love it!

  5. My willow fencing (covering up the neighbor’s chain link) has survived ten winter’s so far – keeping fingers crossed. I like the selective coloring.

    • Ssssshhhhhhh, Lynn. Mother Nature will hear you! I hope she leaves your willow fencing alone. Thanks, Lynn!

  6. That is a great photograph. I love the grey background. We were planning on putting up a fence this summer and unfortunately everyone around us has the black link chain fence but I never heard of the bamboo fencing was coming out. We would rather have that so, maybe we’ll wait.:)

    • Thank you, Consuelo!

      Just to clarify, there are straight bamboo fences out there, but since we already have the black chain link (with no intention of removing it), we are getting the bamboo rolled fencing which will be attached to the front of the fence with gavanized wire. Should do the trick!

      • Oh, lol..thanks for clarifying but I never heard of bamboo fencing so thanks for mentioning that 🙂

  7. Oooh the bamboo fence should be nice! This fence though does work great with the little robin, and the desaturation works a treat. I always love to desaturate blue in scenes with alot of blacks and grey. The blue somehow becomes real distracting. I know that the tops shot is totally BW, aside from the orange, but it’s the lack of blue that makes the real difference to me in looking at both shots 🙂 It is an absolutely GORGEOUS shot btw 🙂

    • I do hope so, altho, the chain link is becoming an interesting subject! I think you are right…it probably was the blue tones and that little bit of green in the color shot that made me think to try b&w. I really don’t know how my mind works at times – I just try to listen to the ‘little voice’!

      Thank you SO much Amber! 🙂

  8. I’m simply in love with this picture. In love with it, completely! I liked the first option the most, but… wow! You’re awesome at this! 😀

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