A 30-Year First « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A 30-Year First

herring-gull-yellow-blush-legs-_09u2917-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl

This image was created back on February 25 on the Monday Ft. Desoto In-the-Field Workshop with the tripod-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode confirmed in advance via histogram check.

Two sensors up from the central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

A Yellow Legged Gull, actually a gull with yellow legs….

When I first saw the gull above, I was somewhat mystified. It looked perfect for Herring Gull only it had yellowish not pink legs. I knew that there was a race of Herring Gull in Europe with yellow legs and I thought that there might be a different species, Yellow-legged Gull. So I send the photo to several friends, Kevin Karlson, Richard Crossley, and Julian Hough. Each agreed that it was a Herring Gull with yellow legs. Kevin referred me to his friend, a top of the food chain gull expert, Micheal Brothers. Michael works at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, Fl.

Micheal kindly responded:

It is a Herring Gull. In spring, some Herring Gulls get a flush of yellow in the legs. Note that the webbing in between the toes is still pink. Yellow-legged Gulls have an orange-red eye-ring, rather than the yellow-orange eye-ring you have so beautifully photographed here. They also have a slightly darker mantle and also a flatter crown. If it had a darker mantle, I would have suggested that it might be a Herring Gull x Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrid. However, those birds have a distinctly darker mantle and an orange-red eye-ring.” Best wishes, Michael

herring-gull-with-blush-yellow-legs-head-portrait-_09u2921-fort-desoto-park-pinellas-county-fl

This tight head portrait of the gull in the image above was created on the same day with the tripod-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1000 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode confirmed in advance via histogram check.

Central sensor (by necessity)/AI Servo Expand/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

The 500 makes a great super-telephoto when you are working with relatively tame birds and wish to go light.

A 30-Year First

In the image above you can see the yellow-orange eye-ring that Michael referred to. For the many non-birders here. Herring Gull is the common gull of the northeast where I lived for 46 years. Yellow-legged Gull would be an extreme rarity. That said, in 37 years of birding and 30 years of photography I had never seen a Herring Gull with yellow or yellowish legs.

As an aside, I love gulls. I love the challenged of identifying and ageing them. I love their beauty and their behavior. And for you beginning photographers, they make great practice subjects.

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This image was on March 8 on the Fort Desoto/Hooptie Deux Short Notice IPT with the hand held Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only). ISO 400; 1/1600 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode confirmed in advance via histogram check.

Central sensor/AI Servo Surround/Rear Focus AF on the bird’s neck active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Finally a Side View

When I first saw the Herring Gull with a blush of yellow in the leg color, I was not able to create a field guide type portrait as the wind was lined up directly at the sun so the bird was almost always facing us. I was delighted to see what I assumed to be the same bird on the big sand bar at North Beach yesterday. With the wind square to the sun creating the image above was a snap. Not that AF was active at the moment of exposure. This will be a small point of major importance that will be covered in detail in the next blog post that features this wonderful bird.

IPT Opportunities

Click here to see the current schedule and IPT openings.

Highlights include a single opening on the next Bear Boat IPT, two slots left on this summer’s killer Galapagos trip, and lots of room on the Tanzania Photo-Safari.

Bear Boat/Bears Catching Salmon IPT: September 2-9, 2013 from Kodiak, AK: $6699.

Happy campers only! Maximum 6 + two leaders: Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito. Openings: 1.

GALAPAGOS Photo Cruise of a Lifetime IPT/The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience. July 2-16, 2013 on the boat.

13 FULL and two 1/2 days of photography: $12,749. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Limit 14 including the leaders/Openings: 2.

Africa/Tanzania/Serengeti Summer Migration Safari: 12 full and two half-days of photography: $12,999/person double occupancy. Limit: 12/Openings: 7.

Leaders: Todd Gustafson and Arthur Morris. Leave the US AUG 3, 2013. Fly home from Arusha, Tanzania on the evening of August 18. Day 1 of the safari is August 5. Our last morning of photography is August 18. We will be visiting Tarangire National Park, Seronera Lodge–aka Leopard City!–twice, an exclusive mobile tented camp in the Serengeti, and at the end, the spectacular wildlife spectacle that is Ngorongoro Crater. Please e-mail for itinerary.

Again, please click here for additional info and additional IPTs.

Seriously Huge B&H Savings on Nikon and Canon Gear

Nikon

For the first time in many years NIKON is going to be deeply discounting many legacy pro lenses individually for the next 2 weeks only with discounts up to $350. There are also many amazing deals on NIKON Buy together and Save packages as well. Click here to save.

Nikon DSLRS Bundles with Lenses & Flash: Save up to $750. Click here to save. Make sure to add each item to your shopping cart to see the absolute lowest price.

Canon Lenses & Speedlites: Save Up to $300

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Canon Buy Together & Save: Save Up to $400

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EOS-1D X AF Guide

You can learn exactly how I set up and use this camera’s great new AF system in our EOS-1D X AF Guide. And you can learn about our other camera User’s Guides here.

Typos

On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, omissions, or grammatical errors. Just be right. 🙂

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8 comments to A 30-Year First

  • avatar ThereseS

    I am in awe of your white gull on a white background in view 1 and 2. Absolutely beautiful.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Thanks, Artie; wonderful images, and congratulations on finding one with yellow legs. And thank you for your constant reminders about how interesting gulls are. Yesterday in the late afternoon I went to Sandy Point State Park on Chesapeake Bay and a bunch of ring-billed gulls were bathing in a rainwater pond. I went and sat down on the sand and photographed them until a kid came and spooked them all off; I got some nice images. Thank you again for making me think about and see gulls (not to mention everything else) in a more open-minded and open-eyed way.

  • The eye ring on that second gull sure looks different! Does not look like the same gull.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      The second image or the last image?

      • The last one – I have terrible time with gulls – the first and last gull have orange/red ring the middle only yellow – so the middle one is different – is that a typical Herring Gull? The last one looks more red/orange..so I think it is a different type…I try not to identify gulls if I can help it, it makes my head hurt!

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Agree. The eye skin on the last gull does look redder. It might simply be the sweeter light. I will send it along to Michael Brothers.

  • avatar Tim Hurley

    Artie, isn’t it a great feeling of discovery when you first spot a bird that doesn’t fit within your vast bird knowledge base! During our outing, you amazed me with your knowledge of not only the bird’s name, but it’s age as well. It is a tribute to your love of birds that a new sighting still rocks your world. You are the bird photo guru!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Well, I do not know about vast, but yes, picking out something new and different and figuring out what is is has been a big part of the thrill for the past 37 years.