Tim Boyer Photography

Small Groups, Cool Birds in Fun Places, Create Award-winning Images!

Scripps Pier

How to Manage Light Throughout the Day

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Three shooting locations and three different light situations, by managing the light, shadows, angle the light was striking the birds, it all works.  The beautiful warm light of early morning and late afternoon are best, but not always possible so let's  figure out how to work with what we have.  

Royal Tern on a foggy morning at Crown Point. 1/1250 of a second at f/4 and ISO 500, with the Canon 5D Mark III and a 600mm lens.
Royal Tern on a foggy morning at Crown Point. 1/1250 of a second at f/4 and ISO 500, with the Canon 5D Mark III and a 600mm lens.

On foggy mornings it's even more important to expose to the right and get the image as bright as possible without blowing out the highlights or overexposing.  Otherwise everything turns out dark gray.

Common Gallinule or as it was formally known as a Common Moorhen. 1/1600 of a second, f/5.6 at ISO witht e Canon 5D Mark III and a 600 mm lens with the 1.4 Extender.
Common Gallinule or as it was formally known as a Common Moorhen. 1/1600 of a second, f/5.6 at ISO witht e Canon 5D Mark III and a 600 mm lens with the 1.4 Extender.

Shooting at high noon with bright light and dark shadows equals contrast, it's important to manage the shadows.  Since all the shadows are behind the bird - except for a little on the neck, this image works.  Yes, it would have been better to make this in the sweet morning light, but that wasn't possible, so this is under the category of, "making the best of the given situation".  Manage the light!

Whimbrel finding dinner on the rocks. 1/640 of a second at f/8 and ISO 800 with the Canon 5D Mark III and the 600 mm lens and a 1.4 Extender.
Whimbrel finding dinner on the rocks. 1/640 of a second at f/8 and ISO 800 with the Canon 5D Mark III and the 600 mm lens and a 1.4 Extender.

Okay, finally at the end of the day, some nice warm evening, magic hour light, and a Whimbrel that forgot its got a probing beak, not a short, sharp beak for eating barnacles.  I've never seen them eat like this, so it was a treat to watch them work the rocks. In this light, just keep the sun at your back,  and have fun.

Enjoy  Thanks   Tim

San Diego Woskhop 1/6/15

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

This was my fourth workshop and sixth trip to the wonderful San Diego area for wintering birds, some warm weather and a lot of fun.  Here are a few images from the first couple of days.  

Pacific Ocean before sunrise
Pacific Ocean before sunrise

There's just something calming and peacful about the sunrises in La Jolla.  Every time on on the cliffs waiting for the sun to rise in the East, I keep an eye out towards the horizon on the western ocean.  There are almost always some pink and purple skies that develop just before the sun rises over the  hills.  It's kind of magical, and a wonderful sense of awe fills me up.

Brown Pelican in breeding plumage, preening in morning sunlight.
Brown Pelican in breeding plumage, preening in morning sunlight.

Brown Pelicans I could watch all day.  They might be asleep one minute then tossing their heads in the air the next, or they preen and shake their heads over the feathers on their backs that they've just preened, so the oil gets on their heads and necks.  The image below I've never seen this angle of a head throw!  That pouch looks so big!

Brown Pelican head throw to stretch it's pouch or throat.
Brown Pelican head throw to stretch it's pouch or throat.
Snowy Egret on the  cliffs of La Jolla at high tide.
Snowy Egret on the cliffs of La Jolla at high tide.

Snowy Egrets aren't found on the  cliffs very often, but this one hung around for most of the morning.

Black Skimmer resting.
Black Skimmer resting.

I don't know of many birds that just plop themselves on the ground and rest like Black Skimmers do.  At first I thought they were dead or injured, but they're just taking a nap, soaking in the warmth from the sand.  Not a bad idea, really.  They are usually resting or standing together in tight groups so getting an angle where there's only one in the frame can be a challenge.

Royal Tern calling out.
Royal Tern calling out.

Amongst the Black Skimmer were some Royal Terns. They were a little more vocal then the Skimmers, don't allow much of a close approach, so use a big lens and stay back or the whole beach will clear out at once.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

I had a a chance to  photograph this Yellow-rumped Warlber in the trees by the parking lot.  One of the things I teach on my workshops is be ready, and I had the right settings preset on my camera and was able to get this shot off quickly before it flew.

Black Phoebe
Black Phoebe

The Black Phoebe I photographed coming back to the car after photograhing the Black Skimmers and the Royal Terns on the beach.

Spotted Sandpiper feeding
Spotted Sandpiper feeding

I really like taking the workshop particpants to the Scripps Pier area.  Besides the obvious landscape images of the pier there are a number of shorebirds there.  This Spotted Sandpiper really stretched itself out, nabbing bugs on the rocks.

Scripps Institute Pier aat sunset.
Scripps Institute Pier aat sunset.

I tried to get a different image this year.  So, I stepped to the  right and offsetting the view down the pilings.  The endless view is still there and it's a little more interesting then the dead down the center view.  Although I still really like last years image still.

Enjoy!   Thanks  Tim