High key Ring-necked Pheasant hen

Ring-necked Pheasant henRing-necked Pheasant hen – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, not baited

Just a simple high key image of a hen Ring-necked Pheasant this morning that was taken in January at Farmington Bay WMA in Davis County, Utah. The heavy layer of snow had made it difficult for the pheasants to forage and due to that they were out in the open more than normal.

Because of the amount of snow we have had here this winter in the Salt Lake Valley I have been able to take lots of high key images of birds and animals but I am looking forward to seeing some green now!


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing birds. My approach is to photograph the birds without disturbing their natural behavior. I don't bait, use set ups or call them in. I use Nikon gear and has multiple camera bodies and lenses.


  1. Stunning detail as always and I’m ready to see more SNOW! Tired of the brown….sigh.

  2. Mia: I hope all goes well with these “game” birds!

  3. you have done a beautifull bird colelction on snow, it could seems easy to do when we see your pictures, but it s not, almost when we practice it and we know all the hours spent without results.
    Thanks mia ☺

  4. Mia, I love your images on snow — absolutely love them. And I have a follow-up, pragmatic, probably dumb question about high key. I always associated “high key” with “deliberately over-exposed” and I’m thinking that’s a mischaracterization. What, exactly, constitutes HK in an image?

    • Ingrid, high key also includes images with white or very bright backgrounds along with images that are deliberately over exposed. In the winter here with all our snow I can get a wide variety of high key images.

      I’ll be sharing more images on snow but I also hope to be sharing some soon with spring green showing up too!

  5. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Dear Mia, I just love the images you send that so clearly define the feathering of these gorgeous birds. She’s lovely.
    I’m afraid you’ll be seeing more mud than green for awhile! Once all this snow melts we’ll be in it up to our necks for awhile. Enjoy, Merrill

  6. I like your high-key images. The bird stands out nicely on the snow.

  7. A beautiful Pheasant image Mia.

  8. Keep shooting those high key shots while you have to! We Floridians talk a good talk of having nice, sunny, warm weather all winter, but secretly we wish we could see snow. Dang, I just let the secret out.

  9. Green would be lovely. Birding has been rubbish this week! Tried to get out on Thursday but it was too windy; today is rainy. Tomorrow is work, so that may be a wrap for February birding. But then, it’ll be March birding: a whole new ball game!

    • Green sure would be lovely Kathleen! Finding birds here the past few weeks has also been a challenge but today I saw plenty of them up north. March brings migration, I can’t wait!

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