Hartney Bay Sandpipers 02

While visiting Cordova, I saw flocks of several thousand shorebirds, but never the millions that I had read about. If there were millions, they were spread out over the entire Copper River delta region. The shorebirds that I saw were scattered all over the mudflats of Hartney Bay which made photographing them difficult. The best opportunities to photograph them was when they grouped together at high-tide. During the week of my visit, high-tide luckily corresponded with sunrise and sunset. There were also no clouds just clear sky, so I was able to take advantage of the good light. In this image, I positioned myself on the sunlit side of the birds and added some color by including the reflection of the blue sky in the mud. I was attracted to the repetitive patterns of the resting shorebirds, but even when they were resting many of them still moved around. I created this image by hand-holding my Canon 7D and 400mm f4 DO IS lens with my 1.4X tele-converter. Depth-of-field was a real challenge, so I stopped my lens down to f18 and chose ISO 400 to give me a reasonable shutter speed for hand-holding my camera. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

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    The repetitive pattern & colors of the birds and their reflections against the reflection of the blue sky is captivating and mesmerising. It would not have been as bold a statement if you hadn’t captured this depth of field. I am in awe.

    I really lucked out having nice weather the week I visited Cordova. Seattle gets 30″ or so of rain/year, but Cordova gets closer to 180″! The blue sky added color and I got as much depth of field as I could. I tried shooting f22 & f32, but that did not change much. Plus, it made my shutter speed to slow, so then I had to adjust my ISO. All kinds of compromises had to be made. Thank you.

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