Guy Davies, EPSA  

Gannet Pointing at Bempton Cliffs by Guy Davies, EPSA

June 2022 - Gannet Pointing at Bempton Cliffs

About the Image(s)

How I Did It:
Paula and I had a short break in the city of York in the middle of May and on our return journey home decided to take a detour to the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Nature Reserve at Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast. The cliffs are over 300 feet high and made of hard chalk. They offer many eroded holes and ridges which are used by a great many seabirds. I don’t normally photograph birds so this was something of an exercise to see what I could capture. Shooting birds in flight was challenging, to say the least, but I used focus tracking and continuous autofocus on my Lumix G9 and got several nice shots of gannets in flight. Unfortunately, I had just installed a firmware update on the camera and failed to notice that the particular shooting mode I was using had reverted to jpg from EAW. It as only when I started looking through the images at home that I found this and discovered that highlight detail on the gannets’ wings had been lost This would have been easily recoverable on RAW files. Fortunately, I also got some close up shots of birds on their nests. This image is one such and although shot in jpg, the white plumage is not blown out. I watched these two birds interacting for about six minutes and took 25 shots. I like this one because it shows the classic ‘sky pointing’ that gannets do before flying off.

Camera was Lumix G9 with Leica DG 50-200 lens at 200 mm. Exposure was 1/1000 at f/4.5 with ISO 200. The camera was hand held with stabilisation selected. Back home the image was processed entirely in ON1 Photo RAW 2022.1, although very little work was needed.

6 comments posted

Vella Kendall   Vella Kendall
A beautiful bird. I like how you blurred the background making the birds pop. Photographing birds is such a challenge especially, they are usually never in good light, weird shadows show up, they usually never have an interesting pose but you were lucky with these two.   Posted: 06/03/2022 19:12:07

Dr Isaac Vaisman   Dr Isaac Vaisman
Guy, I have not had the luck to photograph Gannets as yet. These are beautiful seabirds closely related to the boobies and also fish by plunging into the sea from high altitudes, and which I have photographed. They have a very particular breeding behavior in colonies, and I understand that the most important nesting grounds for the northern gannets is in the UK. The birds are very sharp and contrasting very nicely with the greenery. The background is blurred and non distracting. I jus wonder what are those four clear items under the water   Posted: 06/06/2022 05:28:02
Guy Davies   Guy Davies
Isaac, the cliffs and rocks in that area consist of hard chalk and are grey-white. I suspect the lighter patches in the water are just outcrops of white rock close to the surface. It is quite dangerous to take a boat in too close.   Posted: 06/06/2022 06:07:46

Gary Butler   Gary Butler
To my eye this is an outstanding image - there are many important aspects. First, for me, there is great balance in the composition both top to bottom and left to right in foreground. I feel that the softness and colors of the background provide a wonderful contrast to the exquisite sharpness of the Gannets in the foreground. To me the exposure is "spot on" with detail showing in the white feathers and in the shadows under the birds.

The only possible improvement (and this is minor) would be if you could have gotten the eyes of both birds.

Great job!   Posted: 06/08/2022 08:39:02

Ian Chantler   Ian Chantler
Hi Guy
Think I am the only member of the Group who has not tried nature well I have but lets move on,wonderful detail in the foreground contrasting superbly with the out of focus background.
The birds are so sharp detail in every single feather this is so worthy of sitting alongside the images of the fellow nature photographers in this group,its fabulous.   Posted: 06/12/2022 12:43:16

Erik Rosengren   Erik Rosengren
A well-balanced image Guy. The group of rocks that they are perched on provides two leading lines forcing the viewer to examine the entire image. the sharpness and color of the subjects offering green ground cover, completes a strong Nature image. I'm pleased that you have tried Nature on for size. Getting out of our comfort zone can only make us better photogs.   Posted: 06/18/2022 20:17:53


Please log in to post a comment