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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gull Walking in the Sky and Other Photos

It was a nice, calm day today. With the sun out and no wind, the temperatures in the high forties actually felt warm. I decided to go out and shoot some photos this afternoon. My first stop was False Bay since the birding has been so great there. The tide was out, so the "bay" was really just a huge mudflat with some great feeding puddles for the gulls. The mew gulls were out en masse, and although I didn't see any foot-paddling, they were all marching about the puddles and seemingly finding a lot to eat.

I really like this first photo because it blurs the distinction between water and sky. Since the water was so calm it was reflecting the sky quite nicely, and to me it looks like the gull is walking in the sky. It's only the rocks in the top of the photo that bring your perception back to reality by reflecting in the water.

Since I was shooting into the sun, the lighting was harsh and the colors didn't really come out in many of my photos. Without vibrant colors and with almost a silhouette effect on the gulls, I thought a black and white photo might turn out cool. Here's one I thought worked well - notice why I used the word marching to describe what the gulls were doing.

I never have much success shooting landscape shots with a mountain in the background, because it's hard to get everything to expose properly. If any of you other photographers have any tips on getting the mountain exposure right, I'd love to hear them! Still, I thought this shot with grazing sheep in the foreground turned out kind of cool. It looks better in a larger version, and as always you can click on the photo to see it bigger.

Finally, before I was heading home, the late afternoon sun was looking beautiful through the clouds and back-lighting the trees. I wanted to add another element to the photo to make it more interesting, and the closest thing at hand were these cows. I had to jump across a ditch, crouch down, and shoot the photo through a fence, but I think it was worth the extra effort. There are actually three cows in the shot - notice the mom and calf nose-to-nose under the trees in the right side of the image.


NW Nature Nut said...

Great photos! A fun post too.

Rainsong said...

We usually go to SJI on Valentines day (at least for our first visit of the year). If the weather is pretty then the chat on the walking deck outside of the passenger area on the ferry is full of excited people all dressed in reds, purples and pinks, with the best red lips of the year that never seem gaudy or out of place on that one day. Once we get our coffee and a lavender biscotti in town we head for cattle point and then false bay just for the birding. You have me feeling anxious to get there! My valentine is working on the 14th this year so we will not come until the 17th but good-golly you have me chomping at the bit.

Michele Wassell said...

Hi Monika... Great post and nice photos. Your mountain photo with the sheep in the foreground looks great to me. Sometimes when you have trouble with those kind of scenes, I would meter off of the mid tone without any exposure adjustments or meter off of the darkest area or the lightest area with adjustments to the exposure. It's hard for me to explain in detail because I am still trying to get a good handle on exposure. If you want a really GOOD tutorial, I highly recommend Jim Altengartens Exposure CD that he has available on his website When I got his CD, that is when I finally started understanding exposure. I printed out the material and keep it in my backpack on trips and reference to it when ever needed. I learned a lot from it and its inexpensive for what all you learn from it. Hope that helps. Have a great weekend.

Monika said...

Thanks for the great comments everyone!

Rainsong, what an awesome Valentine's tradition. You'll have to let me know what kind of birds you come across!

Michele, thanks for the tip. I'll definitely check out that resource.