Larry Treadwell  

Surfin' by Larry Treadwell

May 2020 - Surfin'

About the Image(s)


Nikon D810, 200-400mm f4 lens with tc1.4 (focal length 460), ISO 320, f6.3, 1/2000

Ahh, nothing like dawn on Florida’s Gulf coast. This was taken while laying in the edge of a tidal pool and the flat rolling waves washed in and receded. My camera and lens were in full rain gear from Lenscoat to protect them from any water. The tide was going out. Do not try this when the tide is coming in!!!!!!! Your camera will NOT appreciate it. The rig was hand held. While on my belly I slowly pushed with my feet to move along the sand—I ended up wiggling about 50 feet by the time I finished. I was able to get within 20 of many of the birds. The rising sun was positioned at my back so it would light the shore birds. Most important for me was to be at eye level with the birds. The only birds I shot were the ones coming towards me using shorts bursts of 3-5 shots as the waves broke. I did not want the subject to be at the infinity focal so that I could completely blow out the background. F6.3 was used to maintain sharpness and detail in the surf and the entire bird. (I will admit I ended up with a little softness on the tail, probably should have used f7.1) With the roll of the surf and the rapid twitching movements of the birds I needed the high shutter speed. I preset my ISO range, then used Auto-ISO. Focus was single point and kept on the eye of my subjects. The sky was semi cloudy with sunrays peeking through. I liked this shot because the sunbeam caught both the surf and the bird and I got a catch light.

11 comments posted

Bob Legg   Bob Legg
(Groups 15 & 29 & 62)
Hi Larry. This is an exceptional shot. Besides that great light, I Love the bubble design in the wave. Never seen that, but I've never laid in such a position and shot at 1/2000 sec. Perfect composition and out of focus background just makes for a very nice image.   Posted: 05/03/2020 16:01:53
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks so much Bob. As I noted in my write up, eye level is really important for shore birds and that really fast shutter speed reveals things the naked eye does not see. I appreciate you stopping by to look.   Posted: 05/03/2020 16:29:49

Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Very nice Larry. I liked the diagonal view position of the bird and also interesting shaped bubbles. I love the way you plan your shots. Be it landscape or bird or wildlife. Meticulous and very well thought frames backed by mastered art of patience. :-)
  Posted: 05/03/2020 16:21:33
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks for the compliment. If you really want to see a planned out image stop by Group 36 and see my log cabin.

As I'm sure you have realized by now I'd rather get one good image than a bunch of average images. I've learned patience (it was NOT easy) but in the end it pay off.

I agree about the bubbles, the high shutter speed really paid off   Posted: 05/03/2020 16:33:53
Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Oh boy! That's some adventure for couple of shots. But in the end, all's well. Black bear and black horse never to be forgotten. A great image there btw   Posted: 05/03/2020 17:02:33

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
That little bubbling wave of water is super cool. Makes for an interesting bird pose. I like the highlighting of the front of the bird and the water. This image reminds me of the advantages of eye level. Thanks!   Posted: 05/06/2020 17:53:13

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
Way to sacrafice yourself for the shot Larry! Hope you had a change of clothes afterward :)

Very detailed capture from side-to-side with the water and bubbles and shore bird standing in the middle. I couldn't agree more with the light on the surf and bird's breast; beautiful capture! The light in the water's reflection in the background and bokah are perfect and just shaded enough to enhance the foreground. I like the image as it also looks like the bird is standing on one leg.

When I expand the image, there is one really cool feature I'm not sure anyone has seen. Right at the bottom of the roll just underneath the bird's breast is the reflection of the bird's head, beak and eye.   Posted: 05/09/2020 13:24:17
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
That reflection would have been cool if the photographer and used greater DOF and kept the reflection in better focus. The photographer just be some sort of hack. :-)

  Posted: 05/09/2020 14:32:16

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Really nice image of what I think may be one of the Willets. L Kudos for the belly craw. What I really like is the Little bubbly looking wave action. The light on the bird is really done well so early morning was the time to be there for sure. I think the DOF is fine. You have captured the most important thing is the image, the Bird and the breaking little wave. The bird butt may not be in full focus but that is fine. Do you know how many in focus bird butts I have captured over the years and never did win a ribbon with any of them. I think it is a really nice capture and I will say again I love the water action.
  Posted: 05/09/2020 14:36:48
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks Richard.

The tail feathers are a tad soft, but you would have to be looking to find that out. I figure, if I did my job right your eye should be glued to the bird and the bubbles. Nothing else should matter.

I appreciate the compliment.   Posted: 05/10/2020 19:11:49

Mark Winter   Mark Winter

First, May really got way from me with work and CV-19, so I didn't have a chance to post an image this month. For June I will be more in sync.
For me, the image is made with the bubbles. As you mentioned in one of the comments, capturing at 1/2000 exposes things that the eye does not see. Nice DOF control, although I agree that perhaps a tad more would have been good. I always think of a change once I get home and see it on a large monitor. Bgreat capture!   Posted: 05/13/2020 16:19:28


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