Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nerdy Birdy: Bolsa Chica, Birds in Flight


Working with my long lens, the 500mm, is incredibly difficult. Its heavy, it is a fixed focal length (meaning it does not zoom) and although I have been doing well with stationary objects, my motion shots leave something to be desired.



Since I am always up for improving I set out to Bolsa Chica today to attempt to photo the massive amounts of terns and birds in flight feeding at dusk. There was a large group of professional and semi-professional photographers like there generally is. I settled in among them and started firing away.


I had done some research prior and played around with full manual, which is super hard still for me. I also tried various other things and because I was experimenting with settings and ISO’s and exposures I got a very low keep rate from the shots I took. It was to be expected of course and I felt like I learned quite a bit which makes me happy.



The shots that made it through the cut however I am happy with and one in particular made me wiggle my toes in delight. Ahhhhh true success only may be one photo in a four hour shoot but that one photo, the one below, is priceless.


At the end of the day I did get a couple photos of some easier birds, perched on pylons they were taking a break from their hunting endeavours. I loved how the light was soft and diffuse, the right light can make the ordinary extraordinary.


This last photo was a tern defending his perch from all others. He was a bit high and mighty and it was obvious he did not want to share at all. Between the squawking and the screaming at the other terns he struck what I think was a defensive pose, his neck was stretched, his head was high, his head feathers were ruffled and his wings were bowed out. It made me smile because he looked quite comical.


And then before I was ready the light faded away, it was time to go.


lilmansworld said...

do you ever wonder what birds are thinking while soaring through the air? As a human I think it'd be awesome to fly in the air, but I feel to birds its bothersome and never get a day away from the office

paul peggy zeus said...

Birds in flight are more challenging. Good job!

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