Showcase 2021 Winner: Ron Day

Eastern Bluebird Male Posed on Teasel: A Pencil Sketch, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, 2021 Showcase Best in Category, Alternate Reality © Ron Day
Eastern Bluebird Male Posed on Teasel: A Pencil Sketch, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, 2021 Showcase Best in Category, Alternate Reality © Ron Day

Artist’s statement

Through the art of photography, my goal is to reveal the character and beauty of my subject in its natural surroundings, and I strive to achieve that objective by knowing and understanding the species.  

In the domain of Altered Reality, my primary photograph must be well composed and technically correct, and then developed creatively and artistically with any number of tools available on my computer. 

The ultimate goal is an image that is beautiful and unique. I do not try to follow the style of others. My vision is to create an original artistic piece unlike anything else. 

How I got the shot

I photographed this bluebird on May 3, 2020. While the primary color photograph is beautiful, I sensed it needed to be taken to the next level. By converting to monochrome, the contrast and tones revealed through my digital sketch work brought my vision to life.  

It emphasized the gentle backlight in the image and the composition. The finished sketch exceeded my expectations.  It is original and unique – one of a kind. 

What I used

I used a Nikon D500 camera, a Nikkor 500mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, and these camera settings:  f/8 @ 1/400, ISO 2500. For the sketch work, I used  Adobe Photoshop CC 2020 and Topaz software. 

About me

I live in a wooded area on a beautiful lake in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The area is teeming with birds and wildlife and is a constant source of inspiration for my photography.  

I have been a part-time professional photographer for several years. I love photographing the birds and wildlife where I live. Away from home, I enjoy photographing snow geese and sandhill cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, bull elk at Yellowstone National Park, and bald eagles in Alaska. 

As an attorney, I specialized in education law for a number of years before I directed my full time and attention to my true passion – bird and wildlife photography.   

A few years ago, I spent over eight months photographing a family of young red foxes from the time they left the birthing den until they reached sexual maturity. And I wrote a book covering the adventure:  Spirit Of The Fox – Images From Griffin Mountain

My photographic journey

I loved nature as a child. I began shooting wildflowers and later progressed to butterflies, birds and wildlife. Early on, I read most of the nature photography books by John Shaw and George Lepp. They greatly influenced my photographic technique. As long as I am passionate about photography, I will be in the field with my camera creating images. 

NANPA and me

I joined NANPA in 2009. In 2010, I attended the NANPA Nature Photography Summit in Reno, Nevada, and I was fortunate to have one of my images selected in the Top Ten of the Showcase. Since then, I have had 3 images selected in the Top 100, 12 images selected in the Top 250, and, of course, this Best in Category award. Over the years, NANPA has been a wonderful source of inspiration for my photography. 

Learn more

I am a Forum Moderator for the Birds Gallery and the Photo & Digital Art  Gallery at Naturescapes.net. My website is at rondayphotography.com  

See more of Ron’s images

  • Eastern Bluebird Male Posed on Teasel, styled as a Pencil Sketch, image by Ron Day
    Eastern Bluebird Male Posed on Teasel: A Pencil Sketch, Cherokee County, Oklahoma © Ron Day