Ring-necked Pheasants ~ A splash of color in a field of white

Ring-necked Pheasant male in snowRing-necked Pheasant male in snow – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Winter in Utah often presents opportunities to photograph birds with snowy white background and foreground which remind me of the clean white canvases I used to stare at when deciding what I wanted to paint on them only with photography I don’t have to splash color on a canvas, the birds do that. Male Ring-necked Pheasants add a vivid splash of color against a field of white at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, I photographed this male a few days ago as it foraged in the snow.

Ring-necked Pheasant female in snowRing-necked Pheasant female in snow – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Even the female Ring-necked Pheasants add a splash of color in a field of white which isn’t as vivid as the bold colors of the males but in a subtle way and their plumage patterns provide a lovely contrast from the whiteness of the landscape.

I wouldn’t exactly call these images “minimalist” but the field of white snow does put all the focus on the birds.


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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 to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. These pheasants look amazing Mia, it can’t be easy to photograph them with the bright white snow as a background.

  2. Very nice poses of this pair and like the figure/ground relationship.. I used to paint, and still miss the “feel” of a brush stroke but like the photography just fine.

  3. The backdrop makes them simply eye popping. Lovely. And, here in the heat, I am looking with envy at your snow. And the pheasants.

  4. The snow is a wonderful back drop for the birds…the contrast is so crisp…beautiful images…

  5. These are precisely the images I love. No distractions whatsoever, and the snow helps so much in this regard. You are fortunate to shoot these birds and isolate them with the snow. At summertime, it’s the other way around, the branches become distracting.

  6. Pheasants are so pretty. Nice photos, Mia.

  7. Beautiful images, Mia. The whiteness of the snow shows the patterning of the female’s coat to perfection!

  8. Wonderful… love the all white backgrounds

  9. I thought ‘painting’ when I first saw the image. That color is so saturated and beautiful. There is texture in the snow, which helps to give some depth to the background.

  10. Wow! Looking at these made me realize I didn’t see one Ringed-necked Pheasant all year!

  11. How lovely! Snow does eliminate distractions!

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