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Sandstorm Chick ~ During the evening I spent with an American Oystercatcher family there were many times when the wind would kick up and create small sand storms just over the surface. This photo of a tiny chick was during one of those gusts of wind and the sand blew all around the bird. I had the ability to use my left hand to slightly shield my eye from the blowing sand while shooting with my right hand. I don't know how these birds take all that blowing sand but they seemed to do it with no issues at all as this little one was still scurrying along the beach. The setting sun provided a wonderful glow on the bird and the sand and I am glad I was set up for backlight since I think that helped to show off the sand more. I wish the little chick wasn't angled away from me so much, but I still liked the image since it showed off the windy conditions that day. Taken at Nickerson Beach on Long Island, New York. ~ 6/2/17 - 1/5000 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share.
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I'll Take That Please ~ After some time watching the tiny American Oystercatcher Chick try to eat the large piece of crab laying on the ground behind it, the adult ripped a piece off that was small enough and the youngster ran right over to grab it. I had the privilege of watching this adult try to teach the chick to feed and help it when it couldn't for nearly 10 minutes. Everything came together just right since this family of birds was very comfortable with my presence at this point and the evening sun was very low in the sky giving me some absolutely beautiful light to capture this moment with. The little chick would try and try to tear pieces from the crab but was almost always unsuccesful at which point the adult would step in. This entire evening, but specifically this moment was quite possibly my most memorable wildlife experience so far this year. Taken at Nickerson Beach on Long Island, New York. ~ 6/2/17 - 1/1600 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO400 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share.
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The Little One ~ I had such a great time photographing these little Piping Plover chicks this past season. They are just so cute I don't easily tire of seeing them and because of how mobile they are it gives a lot of opportunity for trying different photos with them. In this case I got a lot of out of focus foreground and background that I thought really helped to isolate the little cottonball and I also really enjoyed the brown, gree, and blue background on this sunny morning. Taken along the coast in central New Jersey. ~ 6/2/17 - 1/2500 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share. #babybird #pipingplover #shorebird #cute #adorable #tiny
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Glowing Skimmer Chick ~ I managed to photograph 3 different species of shorebird that commonly breed on the coastlines of New Jersey in backlight this summer. This is a Black Skimmer chick that has grown just past the piont of cute. There were many smaller chicks on the beach as well but they tend to stay closer to the dunes and their parents. The larger chicks are a bit more bold and begin to venture around on their own which was how I was able to get this one isolated by itself. The large dune in the background was stil in shade so it gave me a slightly darker background which helped to make the downy feathers glow even more. You can already see that unique bill starting to take shape whereas the much smaller chicks don't have such an elongated bill yet. I missed out on the Common Tern chicks this year but hopefully I can resolve that next year. Taken along the southern New Jersey shore. ~ 8/1/17 - 1/1600 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share. #blackskimmer #babybird #birdchick
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Cottonball Plover ~ I got lucky with my timing earlier this year and showed up on the beach not long after these adorable Piping Plover chicks had hatched. In all of the bird photography I've done, I have not found anything quite as cute as these little birds running around the beach. Those long legs propel them around with more speed then you would expect so it becomes quite the challenge to track and keep them in focus since they can easily be hidden behind a small clump of sand or large shell. So I hope you enjoy this standard portrait of a tiny Piping Plover chick. Taken along the northern New Jersey coast. ~ 6/2/17 - 1/2000 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share.
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Glowing Fuzz ~ One advantage I love about shooting into the sun is how you can make certain objects or animals appear to glow. In the case of fur it works particularly well. Of course this American Oystercatcher doesn't have fur but it's downy feathers are so fine at this point they appear almost as fur which contributes to the cute look of these little ones. The setting sun on this evening was pretty much perfect for backlight at this point and when the little one walked right into it for me I took the shot. I specifically exposed for those bright glowing feathers which I knew would underexpose the bird itself but I also knew I could easily recover some of that shadow side detail since I was shooting at the base ISO of my camera. As I'm sure you may have noticed over this summer backlight is one of my favorite things to experiment with and I love how this one turned out. Taken in Lido Beach, New York. ~ 6/2/17 - 1/1000 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share.
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Feed Me Now! ~ It never gets old watching these little Least Tern chicks get so excited for a parent to return with food. I've learned over the years the easiest way to capture the returning parent and potential fish transfer is to just keep your eye on the chick. There is no mistaking their excited behavior which usually involves running towards the adult while calling out as loud as possible, as if yelling "feed me, feed me". So I simply watch these little ones through the lens and when they start acting up I start shooting and I can usually catch a moment like this whith the incoming adult with a fish hanging from its beak. I wish I could have seen the adult's face and the fish more but after a while I sort of like how this image realy features the chick. The adult becomes a bit secondary because it's facing away and I think that works. Taken along the central New Jersey coastline. ~ 6/28/17 - 1/2500 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share. #leasttern #babybird #babyanimal #cute #tiny #adorable
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Surrounded by Adults ~ I was set up to photograph this family of Piping Plovers backlit in an attempt to try for something different. I never expected something like this to happen with the shadow of an adult Plover appearing in multiple bokeh balls. I can usually figure out how the odd patterns and shapes are created in the out of focus points of light when I shoot like this but this one is rather confusing. The only thing I can think happened is that there was a second adult just in the frame and very close to my lens on the left side. It's easy to see the adult on the right but I've never seen the shadows from them flipped in the bokeh so there must have been another bird. In any case it was nice to have this little chick stop in this spot of the beach which had lots of shiny object that created a nice bit of glitter around the bird. There is a lot going on in this image which made be debate whether it was worth sharing or not, in the end I thought it might be interesting enough for most to enjoy. Taken along the central New Jersey Coast. ~ 6/2/17 - 1/3200 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share.
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Mallard Family ~ I spent a short time at a local pond recently when I had a couple of free hours. I didn't go for anything specific so it was a pleasure to see this family of Mallards lazily cruising around the pond. The ducklings were all very small and appropriately adorable. The sun was getting lower in the sky and much of the pond was in shade but there were still a few areas where the sun would shine through. As soon as they got in this spotlight of sun I made sure to drop the exposure and go for the dark background which made the family really stand out. Taken in southern New Jersey. ~ 6/26/17 ~ 1/640 sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO 500 ~ at 500 mm using a 500 mm f/4 on a NIKON D4S #mallard #ducklings #cute #family #babybirds #group #swimming #adorable #tiny
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Tiny Terror ~ It is pretty amazing to see how self sufficient these tiny Piping Plover chicks are. I'm not sure exactly how quickly they start feeding themselves after hatching but it appears to be very quickly. This little one was probably no more then 1 week old and was scurrying around the beach on its own searching for food. While the adult plovers seem to favor more aquatic insects these tiny chicks tend to go more for small flying insects that are just on the surface of the sand. This is good news for them since this particular beach was covered with flying bugs, to the point that I couldn't lay down right near the water's edge for more then 30 seconds because of the biting flies. I had been set up to photograph this little one with the sun behind it and when it caught this tiny fly, the bug glowed in the sun just like the chick, it worked out rather well. Taken along the central New Jersey coast. ~ 6/2/17 - 1/3200sec at f/4.0 on Manual ~ ISO200 at 500 mm ~ using a 500 mm f/4 on a Nikon D4S ~ Please feel free to share. #babybird #pipingplover #birdchick #beach #insect
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