Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wide Open

Over the Christmas holidays, I was supposed to do a couple of people shoots, but between scheduling and the weather two out of three had to be postponed. So after New Years, when the weather cleared, I decided to go to one of my favorite birding spots. It's been about six months since I've shot any worthwhile bird photos. White pelicans are migrating through the area, and the landscape at this location near 20th Street and Harborside in Galveston has dramatically changed. A restaurant, abandoned since Hurricane Ike, has been torn down. But there are still a couple of seafood shops, lots of shrimp boats, and three deep sea fishing boats in the area. So, last Saturday armed with only my 70-200 I decided to revisit this location. It's truly amazing what kind of access you can get to nature at times. When fisherman are gutting and cleaning fish, pelicans pay no mind to a photographer sitting on a curb snapping photos. I sat down on the pier to take the photo above, and the pelican barely moved. In fact, my first shots were out of focus and I couldn't figure out why until I realized I was closer than the minimum focusing distance of the lens. I actually had to move back a few inches to achieve focus. How many times does that happen? I'm also getting a little more comfortable shooting wide open ... going ahead and shooting at f/2.8 just to take out any distracting items in the background and taking care to really place your focus points on critical areas. Nikon D200, 200mm, 1/3200 sec at f/2.8; no cropping, just a little vibrance and white balance adjustment in Camera Raw, and sharpening added in Photoshop.


  1. I'm a sucker for a good bird shot. The 70-200mm F2.8 is my favorite lens too. Nice job getting in close and getting what's important in focus and sharp...the eye. Nice pleasing natural color too. Not over saturated, right on the money.

  2. Cool shot Steve!

    Love the close-up composition and the great details and colors!

    Well done!

  3. I want not concur on it. I think precise post. Especially the title-deed attracted me to be familiar with the unscathed story.

  4. I was wondering when you were returning to your "fav spot"! Glad I have been there! Nice catch!

  5. Nice shot Steve. Great job with the ultra-closeup shot.