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Thread: Northern Fulmar (Dark Phase)

  1. #1
    BPN Member Dorian Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Northern Fulmar (Dark Phase)

    I ran my last pelagic trip of the last fall yesterday, and I was stoked to wrap the season with a frame hardcore
    birders will appreciate.

    Fulmars a true pelagic species meaning they only visit land to nest. They survive without fresh water while they
    are at sea, and the tube on the top of their beak is part of a special organ system to excrete ingested salt. Albatrosses.
    petrels, storm-petrels, and shearwaters also possess such structures and are collectively referred to as 'tubenoses'.
    Fulmars come in light and dark varieties; light phases greatly outnumber dark phases in the Atlantic and dark phases
    greatly outnumber lights in the Pacific. Many experts suggest splitting the two populations into discrete species on this
    and other differences.

    I tell first timers on our boats that these stocky birds look like flying potatoes.....

    The boat leaves the dock at 7:30am, and it takes a few hours to get into the prime deep water. Thankfully,
    filtered sun kept shooting conditions ideal through midday, and I was able to freeze this guy as he arced high
    over the stern of the boat. Pelagic photography is the most challenging sort I've done because the birds are
    moving hella fast and the boat is pitching all over the f$%^&ing place! The goal is to get images without
    dropping one's rig into the depths.

    Unlike pelagic trips in EVERY OTHER part of the country and world, we're no allowed to chum birds in Northern
    California (vert long story). It sucks, and we're therefore reliant on unusually tolerant/curious birds to approach
    the boat on their own volition. So yeah, this represents a pretty rare encounter around here.

    Canon 600mm f/4 IS II on EOS 1DX2
    1/4000 at f/4 ISO 800
    Processes in LR CC. I did cheat and add a sliver of canvas above the bird's right wing. Figured I'd give myself
    a break because of the rocking boat!

    Name:  northern fulmar underside bank 102420.jpg
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  2. #2
    BPN Member Dorian Anderson's Avatar
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    Here's a light phase from yesterday for comparison.

    Name:  AT8I5131.jpg
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    BPN Member Brian Sump's Avatar
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    Dorian, great write up and congrats on your flying potatoes!

    Considering the conditions and shooting well out into the ocean you did well. The bird looks sharp and the frontal view is nice with fully stretched wings, and even a nice little head nod to boot.

    Looks a tad grainy to me on the NEC monitor but a minor nit.

    Thanks for sharing and glad you got to get away.

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    Nice work, Dorian. Very informative write up, information I did not know. I cannot see how you could improve either image. My first impression viewing the light phase was that the image appeared a tad blue, probably the overcast conditions. Thank you for sharing.
    Joe Przybyla

    "Sometimes I do get to places just as God is ready to have somebody click the shutter"... Ansel Adams

    www.amazinglight.smugmug.com

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    Enjoyed your fulmar info Aorian and happy for you that you got such a slammin image. I love these guys when i share company in Iceland, although it was hard to watch them just mosey in and steal swallow and drop some kittiwake chicks... Love the dark phase, excellent full spread, TFS

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    BPN Member William Dickson's Avatar
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    Well done Dorian....Great write up, and what a lovely looking image...I like the light phase best. These are one of my fave birds, they return to my hometown every year to nest.

    Will

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    BPN Member dankearl's Avatar
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    Awesome subject, the soft light is fantastic, excellent as always.
    How does one get on your trips?
    Dan Kearl

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    Super Moderator arash_hazeghi's Avatar
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    cool frame, glad you got some keepers. good light and bank position....not easy to shoot from a boat

    TFS
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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    The image in Pane 1 is perfection. Congrats. Enjoyed the write-up. Would love to hear about the no-chumming business ... Is that COVID-related?

    with love, a
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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  10. #10
    BPN Member Dorian Anderson's Avatar
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    Basically, there's a national marine sanctuary which runs from Bodega Bay (North of SF) to Monterey. NOAA doesn't want people chumming for sharks in that area, so they've banned all wildlife
    chumming, birds included, while still allowing commercial and recreational fisherman to chum. They need to redraw the distinction to stop shark chumming while allow it for birds. We are in
    negotiations with NOAA at the moment. I am cautiously optimistic we can get them to see out viewpoint. Chumming birds will allow better views, help us document what birds are on the ocean,
    and facilitate the photographic detection of banded albatrosses which will come right to the boat when chummed. The leg bands can be photographed and the data sent onto to researchers hungry
    for it. This is all new in the last 5 years; prior to that we chummed all the time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Morris View Post
    The image in Pane 1 is perfection. Congrats. Enjoyed the write-up. Would love to hear about the no-chumming business ... Is that COVID-related?

    with love, a

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