Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Semipalmated plover, Point Reyes National Seashore

Plover at rest - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

When I have a cooperative subject, I try to remember to turn the camera vertical to get some variation into my images for the day. While shorebirds like sandpipers and plovers aren't always the best shape for taking advantage of a vertical frame due to their low height and stocky stature, it's still worth taking a look. In this situation, the apparent shallow dof I could get by using the sand in the foreground and the long distance to the dunes in the background helped to make an isolated environment for the plover, and it worked much better in the vertical for this purpose.

Semipalmated plover - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While I enjoy a good photograph of a bird tucked into its feathers, sometimes they can lack a little something when an eye isn't clearly visible. The shot above is from just after it pulled out of its resting position to take a look around, and the frame below is from a bit earlier while I was watching this group of birds. The sun was bouncing behind clouds, giving a good mix of diffuse overcast light with a touch of sunshine every now and then too.

Pair of plovers - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

See more of the semiplamated plovers and other species in my Plovers Gallery.


  1. those are beautiful, and yes, i appreciate the background subtlety. :)

  2. ...just beautiful. This little bird melts my heart!

  3. Very nice Pat. You always do a good job with clean backgrounds and foregrounds and these shots are no exception.

  4. I am learning so much since discovering your blog. I can only hope I can put to use a few of these things I've seen here. At the very least, your photos inspire me to not give up on the birds.

  5. It looks like it starts off shy, then grows accustomed to your presence. Great shot!

  6. Hi Pat,You must pursue photography as your career,pal, you have it in you!

  7. Thanks, texwisgirl!

    Thanks, Kelly! I find that small plovers often have that affect on people! I know my wife just loves the little snowy plovers that I photograph!

    Thanks, Jim! Beaches are a fairly easily place to get a pleasing background since there aren't usually too many objects around to obstruct the view.

    Thanks, Sinbad! I'm glad you are getting something from my images -- that's always nice to hear! I know that I learned an awful lot by following other photographers when I started out as well. And definitely don't give up on the birds! They make for the best subjects, IMHO.

    Thanks, Kristi! That's always the hope when shooting these small birds. You have to get pretty close physically to have them reasonably sized in the frame, so its all about gaining their trust.

    Thanks, Amila! :-D