Larus smithsonianus a fancy name for the American Herring Gull or as they are well know along the Eastern seacoast, a SeaGull. They are considered very common, abundant and always in motion.
Last weekend, I had a homework assignment to ‘shoot gulls’ and after a bit of thinking decided to travel a three hour trip to Plum Island which is home of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. http://www.fws.gov/northeast/parkerriver/wildlife.html. It’s an area full of feathered critters and I used to go there during my high school and college years. I had not been to the area for over twenty years and it was a trip down memory lane. Not much had changed. The small airstrip which my dad and I visited to see his friend’s P-51 was still there…same size, I had forgotten all about it…. talk about a memory rush….
The weather for the day was perfect. When bird shooting, it’s best to keep the sun at your back and the wind in your face. The perfect situation is a stong wind, which the birds stall and glide on slowly which gives them some hang time so you can pan and shoot them in flight. That basically the plan. I was shooting with my Nikon 200-400 w/TC 20e III handheld and this combo I discovered is not ideal for moving targets.
Yet, I persisted and when I found a remote spot at the refuge this gull made my day, as it flew, stalled, divebombed and brought up a starfish from the sandbar for its meal. I’ve lived near the ocean most of my life and never saw anything like this, so it was very cool stuff to be able to capture and share.