Karen Botvin  

Ruddy Turnstone by Karen Botvin

September 2023 - Ruddy Turnstone

September 2023 - Karen Botvin


About the Image(s)

This month I present an image of a non-breeding adult Ruddy Turnstone. I am not a birding photographer, however I do live on the FL east coast and periodically shoot a few shore birds. This image was made last January in the early morning with my Nikon Z7 as I walked along the beach. I used my Sigma 150-600mm at 420mm, ISO 800, at f/5.6, 1/2500 sec. As you can see, I like to shoot birds with a shallow dept of field because I don’t like a messy background. The entire bird, his shadow, and the shell in front of him are all on the same plane and in focus. In Lightroom, I cropped the image a bit to bring him closer. I lowered the exposure and highlights a bit and increased the shadows, whites and blacks just a little. Rather than use contrast, I like to adjust the whites and blacks individually. I also added some vibrance. I especially liked how he seemed to stop just briefly to take me in as I was doing the same of him. Tell me what you thinkā€¦do you like walks on the beach in the early morning?

6 comments posted

Charissa Lansing   Charissa Lansing
Hi, Karen!
What a lovely photo. I can imagine myself walking along beach at the beginning of the day along with this shorebird. I didn't realize that the Ruddy Turnstone migrates to Florida. I recall reading that these birds are able to flip stones and shells with their beak and imagine that would be fun to observe!

Thank you for the helpful descriptive details of your approach to post-processing the image. I think the shallow depth of field works well here and your perspective (camera positioning) was well done because I get the sense of the bird wanting to connect to the viewer. The placement of the shorebird at camera left makes the image dynamic for me. One rather minor consideration would be to desaturate the blue tones in the shadow and the sand.

Great work!   Posted: 09/07/2023 09:19:04
Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thanks, Charissa for your comments! As one can tell from the shadow of the bird that is was very early morning, hence I guess, the blue tone. Until you mentioned it, I didn't even notice the blue tone. Good observation, I will adjust it.   Posted: 09/07/2023 10:12:36

Doris King   Doris King
Hi Karen,
Good Job! You and the bird are on the same level creating a very interesting composition. I do like the blurred background. I applaud you, that's a heavy lens to walk about with. Did you use a tripod or a monopod? I'd like to see more of your bird photography.
  Posted: 09/14/2023 16:23:56

Karen Botvin   Karen Botvin
Thank you, Doris, for your comments. I shot this image handheld. The only time I use a tripod to walk on the beach is to do sunrises or midday long exposures with HD filters. Yes it is a big heavy lens and, in fact, I just sold it and replaced it with Nikon's 100-400 f/4 with 1.4 extender. Doesn't get me quite to 600 but it's not nearly as long or heavy. I wouldn't call myself a bird photographer but I do have a few cute ones that fit the close-up category that I can post as we go along.   Posted: 09/19/2023 06:46:51

Ruth Mayer
Very nice. I love photos of birds. I also like how the shell is the same orangey color as the birds legs. It connects them. I agree with Charissa in that the shadow distracts a little bit. Lighting it up I think would make a difference so the bird would stand out more

  Posted: 09/19/2023 23:08:21

James Silliman   James Silliman
Very interesting image! The sharp focus of the bird and the shell bring your attention to the main points of interest, letting the foreground and background go soft. I can almost smell the salt air and feel the sand between my toes.
I have spent a fair amount of time on the beach myself and this image brings back pleasant memories.   Posted: 09/20/2023 19:46:10


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