Seaside Seagulls

From Cannon Beach, we drove North to Seaside.  Perhaps we needed to do a little more research and there is a really beautiful beach somewhere in Seaside.  However, what we found was a ridiculously overdeveloped tourist trap looming over a nondescript stretch of sand with more litter than we’d seen in downtown Portland.

Having just come from Cannon Beach, I was so unimpressed that I didn’t shoot a single beach scene.  Instead, I put my 100-400mm lens on and started shooting the gull stragglers that didn’t seem to know the gull party scene was down at Cannon.

Two observations about photography:

  1. While 100mm sometimes surprises me with how tight it really is when I point it at a landscape scene, 400mm always surprises me at how wide it really is when I point it at a bird.  Even a big bird that’s relatively close to me physically.
  2. Number 1 often leads me to shoot the eye of the bird near the middle of the frame to make cropping easier.  Unfortunately, by focusing both the lens and my brain on the eye of the bird, sometimes I all together lose sight of composition.

With regard to the first observation, the 4th photo in the gallery is the original, unadjusted image out-of-the-camera (other than having been converted to JPEG and greatly reduced in resolution for the purpose of posting).  As you can see, the gull appears quite far from the camera.  This isn’t helped by the fact that I was standing on an observation area raised well above the beach.

As for the second observation, it frustrates me when I sit down at my computer and look at my shots on my big bright screen and smack myself in the forehead and say, “Man–that would have been a great shot if . . . ”

For example, the young Herring Gull checking out its own shadow probably would have been a more interesting shot than the one I brought home.  I don’t know if he was actually checking out his shadow, but that’s the story the image would have told if I’d back up far enough to get the entire shadow of the bird into the frame.

Sometimes my husband walks up behind me and says, “Oh, that would have been great if you would have . . .” when I am reviewing images.  That’s even more frustrating.  A word of relationship advice:  if you’re in a relationship with a wannabe photographer, don’t ever say that.

As it is, these gulls gave me a good opportunity to expand my horizons a bit in Aperture.   Normally, I don’t do much beyond cropping, adjusting the levels, and balancing highlights and shadows.  The poor lonely Herring Gull looked like it really needed something more than that.  So, I played with edge blur and antique effects and Black and White.  Nothing ground breaking here, but it was fun.

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2 responses to “Seaside Seagulls

  1. These are great comparisons. I tend to think of gulls as not having much personality as a group but individually they are great to watch. You captured these nicely. I still say you are too hard on yourself…and don’t you hate backseat drivers…critics? 😀 Hope you are having a great weekend!

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