Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Break in the Weather

I decided to make the most in a break in the weather and head down to the coast.  With so little in the way of opportunities recently to get my camera out and photograph a bit of nature, I new this particular place, at this time of year, would supply me with a guaranteed success.  Also, after my trip to the Farnes I wanted to practice photographing birds in flight.

The problem when I was photographing the Puffins a few weeks back was not so much the focusing, but the camera technique – getting the bird in the frame and keeping it there long enough for the camera’s focusing system to latch on.  I was getting them in focus but clipping part of the birds.  So, I tried spending about an hour and a half just shooting, what turned out to be, Common Gulls, flying around.  These were on the cliffs at at Marsden Rock, South Shields where there were no shortage opportunities and at just the right height.


Hand holding a 500mm lens for over an hour is going to make you suffer, so before I completely tore any ligaments in my arm, I moved on to their nesting areas.  There was constant toing and froing among the parent gulls and the noise defining as they squabbled and fought for places on the cramp cliff ledges. They almost seemed to be ‘time sharing’ their spots as one came in the other left.  This seemed a bit strange as further up the same type of cliffs had very few gulls nesting – maybe they like each others company!  On the nests, one of the parents would arrive with food to regurgitate to the chick while the other seemed to remain on guard presumably.  I’d spoken to two people who had seen chicks being taken by other gulls.  Maybe this was why they were nesting together – for added protection.


View side from below the cliffs showing the crowded ledges


One of the parents coming in with food for the chicks


Squabbling amongst each other


Maybe gulls are not the most glamorous of subjects but getting out with the camera after so little opportunities this ‘summer’ but it was a much needed bit of photographic therapy and there’s also something very therapeutic watching even this kind of noisy sceptical.

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