Beautiful bill-level view of Black Oystercatchers

4/22/2013 | 0

Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani), Dockweiler State Beach, Los Angeles, California, February 17, 2013, 10:40 a.m., by Donna Schulman

Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani), Dockweiler State Beach, Los Angeles, California, February 17, 2013, 10:40 a.m., by Donna Schulman

During a February trip to Los Angeles, subscriber Donna Schulman went to Dockweiler State Beach hoping to see Snowy Plover, a potential life bird. The plover didn’t show, but when two Black Oystercatchers flew in and landed less than 20 feet away, Donna was thrilled. She knelt down slowly until her camera was bill-level with the birds.

Subscriber Donna Schulman of Queens, New York

Subscriber Donna Schulman of Queens, New York

“The oystercatchers stayed for two and a half minutes,” she tells us, “and in that time I got 12 photographs in several brief bursts.” She posted the photo above to our Flickr group.

Schulman, who lives in Queens, New York, is a subscriber to BirdWatching magazine. She is also the director of the James B. Carey Library at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has been a birdwatcher since 2003, when she took a workshop for beginners with the late Central Park birder Starr Saphir. She has been the editor of the Queens County Bird Club newsletter and is part of the planning committee for the New York Birders Conference (November 1-3 in Uniondale, New York).

“The classic shot of oystercatchers is from the side and shows off their unique shape, red bill, and red-ringed yellow eyes, but I liked the asymmetry of this shot and the way the birds seem to be looking right at me,” she says. “I thought their red bills looked quite dapper against their black plumage, and you can just about make out the edge of those red eye rings.”

Schulman used the following equipment to make her photo:

Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Sigma 120-400mm
Settings: 1/800, f/16, ISO 800, focal length 400mm, manual exposure, handheld.
Light: Natural light, no flash.
Format: RAW converted to PSD then to JPG.
Adjustments: Cropping, curves in Photoshop CS5.

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