Saturday, June 6, 2009

Night at Pier 19 #3

Mediocre egret shots and dolphins -- not exactly what I had planned to shoot this night. But, oh well, you take what you can get a lot of times in nature photography. Black skimmers can sneak up on you though. They look incredibly similar to a laughing gull when flying - white bellies, very similar wing flaps, and dark crowns. It's not until they drop down to the water and feed that you realize that you're seeing one of the truly beautiful things in nature. And as I pondered leaving early, a family of three black skimmers began making passes along the boardwalk. I guess you can equate it to a fisherman enjoying a good fight with a hard-to-land fish, but black skimmers do it for me. There are not many things I've seen through a viewfinder in nature that are as graceful and elegant as black skimmers feeding. They're wonderful to watch, and even harder to track, focus on, and capture. So here's the money shot -- a black skimmer about an inch from touching water. Panning shot, 1/1250 sec at f/2.8. Their eyes are solid black on a black crown, so 95% of the time you get no detail in the eye; but by luck of the low light I got a heavy catch light here.


  1. Absolutely beautiful. I have enough trouble holding that lens (if you were using the 70 -200 mm) for a still shot, and when panning with it usually do not get much sharp at all so I can really appreciate the skill this shot took. What is the saying, "Luck favors the prepared"? or something like that, but all your practice and being at the right place to get that catchlight and great lighting really paid off. I don't think it gets much better than this.