Wilson's Plover

April 17, 2015  •  2 Comments

Wilson's Plover were not common on the Florida beaches that I went to, but proved to be exceptionally confiding when I did find some. Typically they were in small groups of around four birds, and they would stick closely together, however their preferred strategy was to hunker down low in the sand just marginally above the tide line. This was a new species for me so I was pleased to get up close and personal with them, distant fuzzy ticks can be very underwhelming. As was the strategy with all the other birds, this was another lying down on the sand job. I'm aware I'm beginning to appear a bit of a one trick pony, but I am loving the results. That said, it is bloody hard work and can be extremely painful, as I do not use an angle finder, I just twist my neck -  did recently got some correspondence that suggested that this could end up being really bad in terms of permanent health issues, so I may need to rethink how I do this. In some instances I've been unable to actually get my eye to the viewfinder and so have been attempting to line up the focus point, which is highlighted in red, with the bird's head and rely on the accuracy of the AF. My keeper rate drops dramatically when I do this but if it saves my neck it's probably worth it. What I really want is an angle finder that works at about 45 degrees as at 90 degrees, and thus looking vertically down, I wouldn't be in a position to hold the camera - you never actually lay the camera directly on the ground as you'll lose the bottom half of the image. Instead you need to be an inch or so above the ground which is usually achieved by laying your left forearm and hand on the ground, and then raising your fingers very slightly whilst also offering some support of the camera body with your right hand. I cannot imagine doing this whilst looking vertically down an angle finder. Note that I use a low-profile lens foot to aid with carrying the lens and to reduce weight. If I used the foot supplied with the lens, this would likely give me the height I need, but would not solve the neck issues. 

Here are a few images. For me the favourite is definitely the first one though, the clarity of the birds and the complete absence of any background whatsoever are exactly what I am looking for. When you get low and the geography is on your side, you can blend the foreground into the background such that you cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. No horizon in other words.



Sam Coppard(non-registered)
I realise this is an old post and I haven't commented before, so I've no idea if you'll see this, but anyway... outstanding photos! Sharp enough to cause an injury and great light. For the neck problems, have you tried lying down side-on to the camera? That way you can shoot with your neck straight, ear to the ground. It's often harder to keep the camera level this way, but it works for me and might be the answer to your problems!
Mike Dale(non-registered)
Very nice backgrounds, I love the way they just blend into nothingness. If there is one defining aspect of your photographs that says this is a JAL shot it's the backgrounds/foregrounds. Just watch the neck!
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