Tuesday, February 8, 2011
American avocets have to be among the most beautiful shorebirds anywhere in the world. They have a really elegant form, and their summer color is just awesome. But even in winter, they still stand out. I took these shots on a heavily overcast day, which made for really drab lighting, but the conditions were pretty nice for reflections in the shallow pool of water covering the marsh at low-tide.
I'm on the fence about this third image from the series. I like the pose, the water drop on the bill, the impressionistic reflection, and the head came out pretty sharp even under these less than ideal conditions. However, I'm not crazy about where the line between the water and mud is in the frame, since it bisects the body, and I find the motion-blurred leg to be a distraction. So for those reasons it's here at the bottom of the post.
Submitted to World Bird Wednesday -- Follow the link to check out this week's submissions!
Friday, January 7, 2011
Under very heavy fog on a December morning, I had the pleasure of watching a group of avocets feed on the newly exposed mudflats in Bothin Marsh in Marin County. I enjoy shooting in overcast light, but on this day it was almost too dreary, even for me. But when I have a chance to spend time with elegant birds like these, I just can't help myself and I continued to watch and fire off frames. While I wish this one came out just a bit sharper (challenging to do in bad light since they feed by swinging their bills side to side through the mud), I really liked the reflection. The distoration from the disturbed water almost makes it look like a second bird is angrily looking back at the first.
As an aside, this trail can be a fun place to shoot, since its a really heavily used section of the Bay Trail. That means that the birds are used to people passing by so they're fairly willing to stay close, but also, its fun to see how people react to seeing someone lying in the dirt along the trail photographing birds. During my time with the avocets and pintails on this day, I had a handful of people looking on at various points when I glanced back over my shoulder. Some of them would quickly glance away and start walking, likely pretending that they weren't that interested in what I was doing. Many, though, gave me a smile or an occasional wave -- the kind that you know they are chuckling in their heads at the crazy guy sitting in the mud!