Autumn by the shallows

The Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica), photographed on the first morning from a little higher up than I usually prefer – but it makes for good reflections in the almost-still water.

It seems to be a recurring theme on this blog, but let me just briefly reiterate; I really enjoy immersing myself in a subject, be it a travel experience, something new to learn, or a photographic subject. The subject of this blog post will be immersion, in two different subjects, as it were.

On an overnight sea-kayak trip to a locality in the ‘hood I didn’t have much photo-luck at the place where I had first pitched my little tent/hide. Once I had acknowledged this fact and packed my little camp, I went exploring – and stumbled upon a true gem. The new site was a super-shallow, large lake, sheltered from the wind by low beach ridges on all sides, and teeming with foraging shorebirds. Without the hide I couldn’t get level with the birds, but I shot a number of nice reflection-images all the same, and decided to come back for more.

The following morning, after a night being kept awake by hundreds of Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) spending the night around the tent, I was ready to really immerse myself in the Dunlins (Calidris alpina) foraging right in front of the hide.

Ever since watching a YouTube tutorial by Arthur Morris a few years back, I have been using back-button AF in combination with the AI Servo setting for EVERYTHING, because Art Morris said it gave you the best of both worlds (ability to keep focus on moving subjects combined with the ability to stop focussing while still keeping the shutter button half-pressed – like using the One shot setting). I was getting ridiculous amounts of unsharp images, but I kept thinking it was the EOS 7DmkII not performing – after all, if Art says it works, who am I to dispute him?? Anyway, I recently relocated the AF function to the shutter button, and started switching between AI Servo and One shot, depending on the situation, and my keepers rate has skyrocketed since… The lesson to note here is that just because something is presented as a FACT by someone knowledgeable it still pays to make your own experiments, and drawing your own conclusions. So; One shot for still subjects, and AI Servo for moving ones. It’s a FACT 😉

The Dunlins in this gallery were a joy to immerse oneself in. They would forage on semi-dry ground right in front of the hide, and when they found a rag worm to snack on, they would run off to rinse it in the lake before ingesting it! One dunlin only ever used one leg, and was a frequent visitor in front of the lens, there are quite a few images of that individual in the gallery. At first glance it didn’t appear particularly hindered by the missing leg, but then you see how often the others scratch their ear…

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Click on the first image to scroll through the gallery, and be sure to hit f11 if browsing on a Windows machine 🙂