Pelicans are among the best birds to practice your Birds in Flight skills on. They are big, so the camera focuses well, and when they are using the air currents over waves or breaking surf, or along a cliff, their flight is relatively predictable, so they are easy to track. Plus, the boldly textured feathers in all seasons, and the colorful breeding plumage in season, make them attractive subjects. Finally, shooting from sea cliffs in southern California, they are often at or below eye-level. This bird was below the cliffs at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4.5 @ ISO 100. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.
I think it might be the guano streaked cliffs behind the bird that give this shot, to my eye, a slightly prehistoric aspect…and the pose of the bird below only adds to the effect. In reading this morning I discovered that the modern Pelican probably dates back 30 million years, so, yes, the bird is indeed legitimately prehistoric. La Jolla Cove, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 400. Processed in Polarr. This is a good example of the tracking auto focus of the RX10iv. I have the whole sequence of the bird coming in and landing.
One morning on Black Point Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville, Florida, a small group of White Pelicans flew pretty much directly overhead. I was able to catch a few as they passed over. It was a good opportunity since the light reflected from the ponds illuminated the underside of the wings, which otherwise would have been in heavy silhouette. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds in flight and action modifications to Program mode. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. +1EV exposure compensation (to help with the wings). Processed in Polarr.
I posted a shot from this Roseate Spoonbill flyby experience a week ago or more…we were photographing a mixed feeding flock of waders in one of the pools along Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, just past the turn by the rest area, when a group of Roseate Spoonbills flew in, one at a time. It was an opportunity not to be missed. I switched to my Birds in Flight and Action memory, and caught several of the birds as they came by. This one was close. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. 1/1250th @ f8 @ ISO 100. -1EV. Processed in Polarr. Such wings!
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has a huge population of Osprey. Sometimes they are every other power post along the causeway and the road coming in, and they are certainly the most common raptor along Black Point Wildlife Drive. My Advanced Point and Shoot Nature Photography class was practicing flight shots so we stopped when I saw two Osprey circling over a pond, and waited, and were rewarded with one of the birds passing right over head. I was perfect light, with enough light reflected from the water to illuminate the underside of the wings. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds in flight and action modifications to Program mode. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
Roseate Spoonbills are striking birds at any time, but in flight, with the light behind the wings, they are spectacular. I happened to be in the right place at the right time on Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to catch a group of Spoonbills moving from one feeding site to another, passing close overhead. My birds in flight modifications of Program mode enabled the Sony RX10iv to catch the birds against the clear Florida sky, and there was enough light reflected from the pools of water to nicely light the underside of the wings. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
In keeping with yesterday’s “it is not all Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes at Bosque” theme, here is one of the many Northern Harriers currently hunting the fields of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. More Harriers this year than I have ever seen at Bosque in the 25+ years I have been going there. Mostly I saw them far off cruising the back edges of fields. This one came right over on its way from one field to the next and I caught it! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My custom Birds in Flight and Action modifications to Program mode. Processed in Polarr. Makes me really glad I am not a mouse or a vole!
Snow Geese “panic” several times a day at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Panic is the word I use to describe the times when a contagion of agitation sweeps the flock and they all come up into the air at the same time…calling and swirling. Generally half of them think they ought to move west and half east, or half think they should circle clockwise and half counterclockwise, and the mixing and mingling segments of the flock is mesmerizing. To be there when the Snow Geese panic is reason enough for a visit to the Bosque…and, in fact, brings folks back year after year. It was gettin on toward sunset when my Point and Shoot Nature Photography workshop got to see this panic up close. Nothing like it! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My Birds in Flight modifications of Programed Auto mode. 1/1000th @ f6.3 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
One of the reasons to visit the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico is how close you can get to the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese. This Sandhill was coming directly overhead, so close that I could not fit more than this in the frame at 600mm equivalent. That is close indeed. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My custom Birds in Flight adaptation of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
The dawn flyout at Bosque del Apache is one of the great wildlife spectacles of North America and this morning was one of those days that make it memorable. I was out with a field workshop of aspiring Point and Shoot Nature Photographers at the Flight Deck Pond just at sunrise this morning when the Snow Geese rose to go to their day feeding fields. Wonderful light. Amazing action. Shot with the Sony RX10iv in my specialized Birds in Flight mode adaptation of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.