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Critique Puffins!

Discussion in 'Birds' started by gnagel, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. I haven't posted in the Birds Forum in a very long time!

    During my road trip to Newfoundland, I planned two photo shoots for birds...the northern gannets of Cape St Mary's and the puffins of Elliston. I didn't have much luck with the gannets due to thick fog over my three day stay. And, for the majority of my stay, it looked like the puffins were going to be a no go as well.

    Just a little background on Elliston...a colony of puffins nests on the rock just off the coast. There's a short trail (about 1/3 of a mile) from the road to the edge of the cliff. From there, you can see the puffin nesting site. It's relatively close, but too far in my opinion to capture quality images of these rather small birds. They stand at just 8 inches tall.

    Here's an iPhone photo of the area:
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    The hope is that a puffin (or several) will fly over to our side. Between us is a steep drop...and yes, people have died here.

    So, I arrived one morning to photograph the puffins. I had visions of puffins everywhere...and all on my side of the water. But, after a couple of hours of waiting, there wasn't any indication that the puffins would land near me...or I should say, us. I gathered that part of the problem was that there were 30 or more people standing near me and that the crowd might be keeping the puffins away.

    I returned the next morning at 5:45 AM...and was pleased that I was the only person there. But, by 9:30 AM the crowds were building and the light was getting very harsh...and not a single puffin made a move to my side of the water!

    That night, I decided to go back for a third try. I arrived at 5:00 PM and found about 12 people there...no puffins. By 6:30 PM or so, everyone had gone except for one man. He was visiting from Switzerland...and was just finishing up some landscape photographs. I told him that people told me that on occasion puffins would fly over to our side...so he waited with me. We waited for about an hour when he told me that he reluctantly would have to leave because he was freezing...and that his jacket was back at his campsite (more than a mile away). I told him he could use my jacket...and he was very appreciative.

    About 30 minutes later a single puffin fluttered over to our side and landed briefly on a rock. I captured a quick shot with my 300 2.8 VR...and it flew off. I was so happy to get a shot! He looked at the image and joked about how jealous he was that I got that shot...he only had a wide angle lens. So, I removed the 300 2.8 from my D850 and handed it to him. I told him he could use it for the rest of the shoot...he was using a D4. I then attached the 500 f4 to my camera--which was sitting in my bag. Yes, I carry a lot of weight!

    A few minutes later, another puffin landed. Then another...and finally more than a dozen. We had a great time capturing portraits of these birds. At one point, he mentioned that he should have brought a teleconverter with him...so I reached into my bag and handed him a 1.4x. He couldn't believe his good fortune...a jacket, a 300 2.8 VR and a TC...all saved his photo shoot!

    Here are some of my images:

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    Thanks for looking...and reading.

    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 2
  2. Glenn Nagel, Photo Ambassador and Humanist (y)
  3. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    I've bee waiting for these!!!! Your perseverance paid off!!!!! A delightful set of images, Glenn! Wish I had been there with you! LOL!
  4. bmell


    Feb 11, 2009
    Glenn, great photos and an even better story. I would shoot with you any day all day.
  5. It was one of my favorite photo shoots of the trip...and I was so happy to save the shoot for another photographer. He was so appreciative...and it was an easy fix for me as I had two big lenses with me.
    Thanks Karen...the guy who was out there was very happy to be there with me. He wouldn't have captured any images if I hadn't been there with some extra gear and a jacket!

  6. Thanks Brad...I would be happy to shoot with you as well.

  7. Great perches and bg
  8. Fantastic pictures! The Maritimes, puffins, razorbills all are fascinating to me!
  9. Thanks Allan
    Thank you, Bill

  10. Fantastic photos and a great story, Glenn. Perseverance pays off!
  11. A terrific set of images Glenn, appreciated the story behind the photos as well.
  12. Wow these are exactly what I expected.
    Your technical skills are amazing.
    Perfect pictures
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
  13. (y)(y)Another wow here Glen for your photos and your humanity..
  14. gorec


    May 15, 2014
    Wonderful set, really hard to pic winners out ,, all great !!(y)(y)
  15. Glenn, you are a true gentleman - and a pretty good photographer as well :) .

    This is a nice series and a wonderful narrative. My faves are the second - a good consolation prize for 'no BIF shots', and the classic pose in the 6th, with its delightful background.
  16. Patience, persistence and preparedness pays off! I hope the person you repeatedly helped learned a good lesson about preparedness. A beautiful set.
  17. Thanks Jim...I got lucky. If they hadn't come over during my last hour, I would have walked away with nothing.
    Thanks Louis
    Thanks Randy...much appreciated, especially coming from someone who posts so many outstanding photographs of birds.
    Thanks Bohdan
    Thank you, gorec
    Thanks Bill...ordinarily I wouldn't lend expensive gear to a complete stranger. But after talking with him for an hour and seeing that he was a good photographer, I thought it would be a waste to let an extra lens just sit in my bag while he got nothing.

    I did get a few BIF shots, but I didn't like the lighting at the time...and the birds weren't as close to me as I would like. So, I didn't post any of those.
    Thanks Mike...he had a lot more to juggle than I did. He was camping with a family of five...and just happened to take a walk to this area from the campground which was more than a mile away. I'm glad I could be of assistance.

  18. Excellent set of shots, Glenn. And an interesting story. I particularly like nos.6 and 9 for the birds' position, the interesting rock perch, and the lovely contrasting BG. Really well done. Congrats.
  19. eric d.

    eric d.

    Apr 19, 2018

    thank you for sharing this.. both: the story and oc course the nice puffins
  20. Glen - I wish we would’ve met when I lived in Tinley Park. Your images are amazing and so is your generosity and kindness towards this man, who will show his images and tell this story for years to come. Thanks for sharing.
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