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on May 31, 2013 in Landscape Photography

The Official Greeter of the North


A really common bird in the lower 48 is the Greater Yellowlegs. Like nearly all shorebirds we see in the winter, the Yellowlegs is a gray, drab bird that the vast majority of the time get ignored. Gray and tan is, gray and tan. But once they get up north to their breeding grounds, they are simply spectacular! So whenever we see them, we get out of the van and set up the gear. Setting up the gear is a ritual we all now do in our sleep. You do it that much since you can’t drive down the dusty roads with it set up to go. It only takes seconds (unless you’re using flash than add a couple of seconds) to get Gitzo 5561SGT w/ Wimberley Head(w/ RRS Quick Release mount attached) is the Nikon 800f5.6 AFS (w/TC800-25e) and D4 in place to shoot.


One of the really cool things shorebirds do up in Churchill in spring is to top the small Spruce trees. Be it to get a view of their territories, rivals, potential mates or predators, up they go. The thing of it is, they don’t have the feet to perch so it’s a balancing act the entire time. That’s where the fun begins. This is when the motordrive really helps.


And then are those times when you have a cool scene but not the greatest light. That’s when the SB-900 / BetterBeamer / SD9 comes out. You lose your motordrive because the flash just doesn’t have the power to keep up with motordrive, so you have to pick your shots. You gotta watch and when you see the preening or just standing up, you know a wing stretch is coming. You either take off your teleconverter (which means you keep the caps in your pocket all the time) or move back so when the wings go up, you don’t cut them off. Moving back lower your flash power so I go with the removing of the teleconverter which means you now have power for two shots rather than one. But no matter where you are, when you stop and roll down the window, you will hear the Greater Yellowlegs calling. Who I think of as the official greeter of the north.