Monday, March 23, 2009

We Made It to The Beach !!!

Yes the weather improved and we made it to the beach. We made it to a few beaches over the weekend actually and even managed to get to Vero Beach after thinking we'd never be back there when we left it last time. Once again I donno why I say such things. Never say never.

The sun was out, the sky was mostly blue and it was picture perfect. And here is one.

It was a bit windy but this made for interesting photography as the birds would almost hover in the sky (roll up, roll up, folks; enlarge the photo and see the amazing hovering bird) while waiting for some food scraps or jellyfish to appear. The Atlantic breakers were huge and numerous jellyfish were being washed up on shore for the hungry birds to fight over.

None of them wanted that particular one as it was a bit too big. I should've placed something next to it for scale purposes but lets see, it was about the size of a Pamela Anderson breast implant. Actually I'm not too, I'm sure it was a jellyfish !!

We humans weren't the only ones who were dipping our feet in the warm water and plenty of the birds were taking the opportunity for a Spring Break weekend too.

But if you wanted to sit on the sand and watch a bit of wildlife action, you only had to keep an eye on this little fella, a sandpiper I think, who sped up and down the beach looking for smaller food items. He'd always get there first, given his speed, but within seconds, the larger birds would swoop down and relieve him of his treasure. Lets all give a big awwwwww.

Never mind. Think how well he must've slept that night after all that running around on the beach.

The light breeze gave me a good opportunity to try and get some good clear shots of birds in flight and as regular readers will know, that has become my aim in life ! No distracting backgrounds this time and ok, even I have to be pretty happy with these two examples. Have a zoom in and see why.

The waves really were huge and many surfers were taking advantage of them. I was too far away from them to get any decent action shots but here are a couple who weren't moving so fast in the water but at least their presence helps show off the waves to good effect.

We had no food with us but the hundreds of birds lying in wait on the sand near us were just primed for the action rather than the substance. I'd picked up a small shell and without thinking, I tossed it away to one side. Immediately the air was full of squawking birds all spoiling for a fight over The ones who tried to pick it up were seriously pissed off but still got into a fight over ownership and this guy was the most vocal......

He scared me, never mind the other birds. The sand looks awful in that photo, almost as if the bird was on a rubbish tip. It really wasn't and I think it's just one of those photos that basically lies. What can I say.

As we left the beach by way of a short wooden path, we went past some bizarre (to me anyway) pods. Some had burst open and inside were one or two relatively large seeds. Can anyone tell me what they might be ?

So we had a grand day out and ended up at a Cracker Barrel restaurant opposite the motel where we both ordered the roast beef dinner.  

But that's for another post.............


Daphne said...

Lovely bird-in-flight photos! I'll try to find out what the seeds are but I fear they may be triffids, so I hope you didn't bring any back to plant in your garden.

Jay said...

Those in-flight pics are stunning! Well done!

Now, what's your secret? Because I've never been able to get them so crisp despite many attempts. Obviously it helps that they were hanging around up there, and that the sun was so bright, but c'mon, we need secret-spillage!

"lets see, it was about the size of a Pamela Anderson breast implant."

You are such a typical man ... *rolls eyes*


Silverback said...

Actually some of those in my front garden would be quite something. See if Joan can get some from Strikes !

No secrets, Jay, just supreme skill and technique !

Seriously I just put it on manual, use the fastest speed setting the light will allow (2500/sec in those cases), reduce the aperture to F16 or more to get the widest possible depth of field (I play with aperture settings a lot as sometimes it's cool to get the head or a wing edge in sharp focus but everything behind it blurred so maybe try F2/F4 when doing that) and finally I usually pan to track the bird to keep it in focus.

Taking numerous 'bursts' at 3 fps helps too as you're pretty much sure to get one decent shot !

Katherine said...

Fab shots Ian! I think the 'breast implant' might be a bluebottle (at least, what we used to call them when we were kids) and they are poisonous, so that would explain why the gulls were disinterested.
That spiny pod-thing looks marvelous. If I could find the time, I'd love to draw it!
And, of course, if I were given permission...

rhymeswithplague said...

I agree with Katherine, the jellyfish looks to be the poisonous kind...Portuguese man-of-war, I believe...the Florida beaches are filled with them this time of year...too cold for the residents...God's little joke on the tourists...but the Pamela Anderson comment is too funny (and amazingly accurate).

Maybe your bush is what we used to call a "sea grape", but I can't tell for sure....

rhymeswithplague said...

Great photos of the seagulls and the sandpiper, by the way...absolutely stunning.

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