The Canon EF 600m IS II is quite an asset to create beautiful photographs of shorebirds while bathing! The reach helps not disturbing the tiny birds and make the background very blurry, while the extremely fast auto-focus allows for top notch action shots.
This Short-billed Dowitcher photograph was created during the previous Spoonbill / Shorebirds photography workshop, at Fort Desoto, Florida. Always careful to spot early on shorebirds bathing, I directed my students to this one, which seemed to have a blast cleaning up its wings in the shallow water. Though not everybody could get on the ground, the very best vantage point is as low as you can. Then make sure your auto-focus point is directed towards the bottom so that you don’t clip wings at the time of the flap or to capture most of the water splashes. Keep a very fast shutter speed and you are on the right track.
A few minutes after the creation of the first photograph above, this Semipalmated Plover decided to go for a quick bath as well. Still in the same position, this photograph portrays the nice flap that follows most bathing sessions. Creating great photographs is often based on recognizing wildlife’s behavior and anticipating on the right position to be at to capture the action. From the image optimization perspective, I did not have to clean anything in the background. I selected the bird, which I pasted on a separate layer (Ctrl+J after selection) in order to apply some of my favorite Color Efex pro effects: 70% Detail Extractor and 20% Tonal Contrast.
Herring Gulls are amongst the biggest gulls! This gull has a very interesting technique to add big crabs on its menu. First the Herring Gull captures the crab, then flies up in the air with it to let it drop from 50 feet high or so, hoping to crack the shell. Then it is meal time! Of course, it is usually not quite the end of the story, as the gull still needs to chase away other shorebirds from its quarry: it is not rare to see 4 or 5 Rudy Turnstones harassing the gull until they get a piece of the crab…
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