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on Apr 3, 2014 in Wildlife Photography

A Gulling Moment

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I love photographing gulls, learned long ago that if you just watch them for five minutes, they will do something silly. Well, we were at the Yaquina Head Light for our K&M Adventure last week and the gulls were just starting to go nuts with nesting season. What makes this location so amazing beside the gorgeous lighthouse is the offshore islands the birds like to nest on which are just an arm’s reach away! We’re talking gulls, murres, puffins, gillimots, cormorants and even Bald Eagles. Simply an amazing gathering of life in spring.

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Shooting here is fun too. You drive literally right up to the spot, not even a 100 yard walk. It doesn’t take much in gear, I shot with just the D4s / 80-400VR3 but you can easily go longer. It would be a great spot for a 600mm / 800mm but you just have to deal with the public who seem to always come up when you have your eye to the viewfinder and ask, “Whatja shooting?” It would seem only photographers can see the thousands of white birds on the black rocks.

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I went short for the very simple reason, looking to make the uncommon out of the common. You have a couple of important things going for you in these regards. First, you can get so physically close. Next, you can get access really early to take advantage of the cool lighting. Lastly, you have a white subject and black background. All of this permits us to have small, very small subjects that visually pop in the frame. And with it being spring, there are all sorts of antics. In this frame above, I like the shadow of the gull in the foreground that was about to fly through the frame.

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And then there are simply their gestures. What is really cool is these opportunities are available to all across the globe. Gulls, which receive very little respect or love, are key members of our wild heritage. Studies have shown that if they were to disappear we would have a serious loss of our air quality. Pretty darn amazing to think the “garbage eaters” of the wild kingdom are linked to the air we breath. But then, Mother Nature has tons of surprises and it’s up to us to share them through our photography and their stores.