Anyone who has spent time up north is surely familiar with the call of the loon: the sound that signifies summer sunsets, evening campfires, and time spent with friends and family by the lake. I grew up in Minnesota and also lived there for five years as an adult, and all it takes is one high-pitched warble to immediately transport me a thousand miles to the north woods at dusk. I took this sound for granted most of the time I lived up in that part of the country but now, having spent more than a decade living in the sweeping prairie of Oklahoma, I miss it a great deal. And that’s why pictures like the one you see here are so special to me :)
While this might appear to be a loon swimming on a lake, that’s not actually the case at all. This is a small painted-wood replica of a loon, about 1.5 inches from beak to tail, sitting on top of an overturned glass bowl in front of a crumpled piece of aluminum foil.
This is a technique I have used before but never with an actual macro lens, and the results are kind of stunning. At least to me, anyway. I shot this at f/11 but it looks more like f/2.8 because the background is so blurry and the depth of field is razor-thin. That’s the benefit of using a macro lens though, especially a telephone one like the Nikon 105 f/2.8 FL-ED. It lets you get super close to subjects, even tiny things like this little loon, and get amazing photos without the need to zoom in or crop in post. Originally I had not planned on using an overturned bowl but I kind of like the effect, almost like this is a real loon making ripples on the surface of a calm lake.
Incidentally, I got this loon from my mom years ago and I love having it sit on our shelf in the living room–If you’re reading this entry, thank you Mom!