Three Image Sequence Of A Forster’s Tern Just After Emerging With A Fish

Any photography skills I may have were definitely tested yesterday morning as I attempted to photograph terns coming out of the water with fish. Ideally I’d like to get them diving into the water and then coming out but I’ve found the former damn near impossible to accomplish so my more realistic goal was to get them emerging with a fish. I succeeded a few times but most of those images had issues.

But I was reasonably happy with some of my shots taken very soon after they came out of the water and these are three of them – they’re sequential images of the same bird taken in a burst.

 

1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

This Forster’s Tern going out of breeding plumage had emerged from the water with a fish less than a second before the image was taken – the tern is still very close to the water surface and there’s water droplets coming off of its body. This might have been a fun photo to have included a full reflection of the bird but it just didn’t happen.

 

 

1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

One of the things I appreciate about this sequence is the completely different wing positions in all three shots and I like each of them. The bird went from “wings forward” in the first photo to “wings lateral” in this shot and finally to…

 

 

1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

“wings up” in this last image. So often when I get reasonably sharp images like these in a sequence of a bird in flight some of the wing positions are nearly identical and that’s usually unfortunate.

I wish I could tell you what species of fish this is but I can’t with any confidence. My guess would be carp just because they’re the predominant fish in many of our marshes but there are a few others including some invasives so I’ll just leave it hanging.

Ron

 

 

 

 

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22 comments to Three Image Sequence Of A Forster’s Tern Just After Emerging With A Fish

  • Marty K

    Was “off the grid” over the weekend and am catching up on your posts in a few free moments. 🙂 What a fantastic series — so much happening in just three clicks of the shutter. Gorgeous bird!

  • Love it. And like Laura dislocate my jaw here on a daily bais.

  • Laura Culley

    What a beautiful series, Ron! GADS but I love waking up to your blog when I’m enjoying my coffee and the sunrise! I’m always just so darn slack-jawed every time I open it. Doesn’t matter the species–your photography is a particular joy in my life. Thank you!

  • Alice Beckcom

    Great photos, Ron. I especially like the first one with a reflection on the wing in the water. Thanks.

  • Susan Stone

    Nice series, with all the different wing positions. I hope you’ll eventually get diving and emerging shots. I need to mention that your site today is giving me real grief about posting a comment. Hopefully this one gets through.

  • Stephen Clayson

    Ron,

    Oddly enough with the eclipse over and back to my routine I was at BRMBR trying to capture the same thing. I spent about an hour trying to get these shots but again yield to the master’s skills. Nice shots. BTW, I do appreciate the details on your camera settings so that I can try to mimic them when I make my feeble attempts. Nice shots. These birds are fast!!

    Stephen

    • These little terns in flight or coming out of the water are tough customers for all of us, Stephen. That opinion was reinforced for me again this morning when I took about 1200 images of them and I’ll be happy if I have a half-dozen shots I like!

  • Patty Chadwick

    “I’ll just leave ot hanging”…funny! Looks like a little carp to me…at least it’s not a loach….like the color combinations in these birds…..white, black, grey, bright reddish orange…great catch(for you and bird)…

    • Thanks, Patty. That “I’ll just leave it hanging” line would have worked better on another image I got yesterday. The tern is coming out of the water and the very tip of the bird’s bill is barely hanging on to just the lips of the little fish.

  • John Sherrill

    I’m getting the idea from your subject matter of the last two weeks that most of the raptors have left. Oh well, the seasons come and go! John

    • John, we still have a fair number of raptors around but they’re far less active then they were earlier in the spring and summer. They’re more skittish too. Things should pick up in a few weeks when it starts to cool off and the Rough-legged Hawks begin to trickle in.

  • Judy Gusick

    Wonderful sequence, Ron! Our reflexes and theirs are 2 different things for sure. The reflection and, it appears, still some water drops from the exit are a bonus. 🙂

    • Judy, the trick is getting the bird in the frame, and focus locked on to it, as quickly as possible after they hit the water. They’re only there for a split-second before they take off again.

  • Charlotte Norton

    Awesome series Ron!

    Charlotte