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West Coast shorebirds - Part II

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Tim Z, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. I hope people don't mind that I post images from the past couple of months. Please tell me if this is frowned upon here? The weather is so crappy here lately that it is impossible to get out and take many photos. :frown:

    Here's a few more of the common shorebirds around here. This time birds that are more common on the sandbar and mudflats.


    Dunlin - D70s with 300 f4 afs & TC-20E II, with SB-800 fill flash


    Least Sandpiper - D70s with 300 f4 afs & TC-14E II

    Western Sandpiper - D70s with 300 f4 afs & TC-14E II

    Short-billed Dowitcher - D70s with 300 f4 afs & TC-14E II


    Killdeer - D70s with 300 f4 afs & TC-14E II

    Lesser Yellowlegs - D70s with 300 f4 afs & TC-14E II


    Greater Yellowlegs - D70s with 300 f4 afs & TC-14E II

  2. All very nice, Tim! But #8 is my favorite with the reflection. It matters not to me when the shots are taken. I'm always happy to see others' work!! Keep posting!!
  3. bfjr

    bfjr Guest

    Totally agree with Kevin !
  4. WOw jsut pure excellence every one is special in its won way.
  5. Geeez Tim - these are good. You're stalking skills must be awesome.
  6. mike17112

    mike17112 Guest

    Bloody marvellous Tim, keep them coming.

  7. WOW! Those are all fantastic photos. I have the 300 f4 AF you have the AFS model and can use the TC20E I have the TC20E and when I got it I found out it does not work with my lens. Drowning in my tears.
  8. Thank you all for the kind words. Much appreciated. :smile:

    Rory, I have been shooting shorebirds (one of my favourite subjects) for many years. Not that there is that much to learn about stalking them, but in time you do learn certain habits and techniques. For example, with the sandbar/mudflat birds, I have a good sense of how close I can first approach and can sense when they are getting antsy about my proximity. What I do then is just sit there, and within minutes, they tend to get back into their feeding habits and almost forget about me being there. Eventually, especially the little peeps, they will start feeding closer to me, sometimes to the point where they will be within 20 feet and all around me. If I was to make any sudden movements, they would take off. It is also always better to get as low to the ground as possible. On your belly is the best position, but obviously tough to use a tripod from that position. I use my tripod at its lowest setting for most of my shots. You also develop an understanding of which species will tolerate close approach and how close. For example Black Turnstones and Surfbirds are extremely approachable on the rocky coast. I can usually work my way within 15 to 20 feet of them. Lesser Yellowlegs are fairly approachable, but Greater Yellowlegs are really skiddish. The Greater Yellowlegs shots here are all from my kayak, which allows very close approach to most species, but of course then you are stuck with hand held only. Having only had a 300 mm and converters as my longest lens, I have no choice but to work my way as close as possible for all my shots.

    If you're ever down this way, and want to go out and do some shorebird shooting let me know. I know a few spots where I can almost guarantee you close shots of a couple of species. :smile:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2006
  9. Hi Pete

    Yeah that is one thing that bugs me about the afs system; i.e. that you must have the special converters for afs. Then, those converters cannot be used on any other lenses unless it is afs, or if you file off a tab on the converter. I was eyeing the Sigma 500 f4.5, but I would also have to get a different 1.4x if I wanted to use it with that lens. I do love my 300 f4 afs though. Best lens I have ever owned. :smile:

  10. Tim, these are outstanding. I've tried my hand at shooting shorebirds on the Long Beach Peninsula and my hat is off to you on the quality of these shots. What type of post processing are you doing?

  11. Thanks Louie

    I shoot only RAW NEF files and do all of my post processing with PS CS2. I also have and use the Power Retouche Pro sharpener and Neat Image noise reduction plugins. Prior to my acquiring this D70s DSLR last July, I shot nothing but slide film. I have had no success at scanning my slides on my home scanner and doing them justice.

  12. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Man O Man

    You're simply putting the rest of us to SHAME!
  13. Thanks Jim, but I sure hope you don't really feel that way. There are many images posted by others here that make me feel the same way. I just want a nice friendly place to share and discuss our images, gear and techniques. :smile:

  14. Tim, I must add my 2 cents as well; just splendid shots. I also enjoy "sneaking up" on wildlife. To me it adds a challenge to the already present challenge of taking a good picture. Just great composition. I suspect it took you years and 10's of thousands of imagines to achieve what I see here.
  15. Thanks Ricco. Actually these were all taken since August 2005 shortly after I got my first DSLR. :smile:

  16. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    First let me say that if posting shots more than a few hours old is frowned on, then an awful lot of us are causing unnecessary wrinkles. :biggrin:

    These shots are very good as the other posters have said. I personally greatly appreciate your description of your 'stalking' techniques. I've only been shooting for about two years, and I have learned some birdie behavior patterns, but getting such info from an experienced photog is very valuable to me.

    Thanks!! :smile:
  17. As long as they are this nice... who cares how long you sat on them before you posted.

    good shots Tim
  18. It's hard to think of anything to say except WOW !!
    I think that, in particular, the paired birds in shots #1 and #5 make for superb compositions.

    I am thinking that I might possibly tone down the turquoise colour of the water in #1,4,8 and 9, but it is a very minor quibble and may have something to do with my monitor. (And that is also sometimes a matter of personal preferences in post-processing. I probably tend to like a less saturated water look.)
    You really do have something going on with your most excellent bird shots, and I enjoy seeing them. Hope you get a book of these bird photos together some day !!
  19. Thanks Annedi

    I would think that about #1,4,8 and 9 too, but in fact that is exactly how the water looked at those times. The lighting was such that the water colour was naturally hightened. I was surprised when I got home and uploaded the images to my pc to see how rich the colours were; especially for the Lesser Yellowlegs. I took about 200 images that day when the sun was low in the evening sky, and they are all the same richness.

    I don't have my own books published, but hundreds, maybe thousands, of my images have been published in many books, magazines, field guides etc. Pretty well any field guide you pick up these days will have a bunch of my images in there. I guess that's why I have kind of adopted a "field guide" style to my bird photos, as I am typically trying to compose for that market.

  20. You know you are right about that water sometimes being very blue or very turquoise all on its own without a PS tweak!!! I was organizing some old photos this a.m. and -- sure enough -- there are quite a few that I took while up in Maine where the water looks a very saturated, clear, dark blue (typical of that area) and I had no reason to do any adjusting. The time of day, the clarity of the atmosphere, angle of the sun and so forth sometimes gives us exactly that look.
    Ah, well, that is so cool that you have published images. I should pay more attention to the credits in my field guides !! I don't regret the course my life took but if I had it "to do all over again", I would have kept the camera in my hands instead of putting it down to pick up the mathematics books !!
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