Galveston’s FeatherFest “Photographing Shorebirds” Field Trip
My second field trip that I led during Galveston’s FeatherFest this year was “Photographing Shorebirds at East Beach” on Galveston Island. East Beach has been closed due to the recent oil spill near the Texas City dike. Had received special permission to scout of the area the day before the trip to see how close that we could park the bus from the jetty. Luckily, they fully opened the road and the beach on the day of field trip. The beach looked great with no evidence of the oil spill. Congrat’s to everyone that helped with the beach clean-up. Job well done.
With another full class, we hit the beach near the jetty just before sunrise. There were a few hundred Black Skimmers resting near the shoreline that made for some good photo op’s. The sun finally popped over the clouds and give us some good silhouette opportunities. Some local fisherman provided for some flight shots of the Skimmers at they spooked the birds several times. I encouraged everyone to try some slow shutter speed shots as the birds were flying around.
The Gulf of Mexico was rough on the west side of the jetty with some heavy waves that would crash along the jetty, which made for some interesting photo op’s as a Willet was feeding along the top of the jetty.
Once the action started to lessen, decided to move on to plan B, which was the east end of the island, north of the jetty. There were some shorebirds hanging out in some of the tidal pool areas. Came across some Terns, Willets, Marbled Godwits and Avocets. Tried to get close to the Avocets but they walked away to another group further towards the ship channel. Wasn’t sure if we could get close to the main group but we gave it the old college try and it paid off. We ended up walking down the trail and headed cross country and were able to get very close to the main group of Avocets. One batch was feeding and the other was snoozing. Some were in full breeding plumage with the darker feathers around their head.
After spending some time with the Avocets, made our way to plan C, which was where the shrimp boats come to dock behind the strand. Last year, a shrimp boat came in right as we got there but no such luck this year. We did get to see some Brown Pelicans and dolphins.
It turned out to be a successful outing and had a great time meeting another group of very nice photographers. Thanks to everyone who attended. Here are a few of my photos.
Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head
Shutter priority, 1/6 sec @ F25, ISO 400, +1 exposure compensation
Aperture priority, 1/8000 sec @ F4, ISO 400, evaluative metering
Shutter priority, 1/15 sec @ F32, ISO 200, +1 exposure compensation
Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation
Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F4, ISO 400, evaluative metering
Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F10, ISO 400, evaluative metering