Yo Pelican – Photo of the Day

by Mike on December 27, 2009

Photo of the Day – Yo Pelican Look at Me

I made a little clicking sound and this pelican turned to look at me. Pelicans love to perch on channel markers. I don’t know if they sit there all night, but at dawn, these three were there.

Pelican at Dawn

Pelican at Dawn

This photo was taken about 20 minutes after first light. I focused on the closest bird. It was taken from the southwest corner of the Halifax River Bridge in Ormond Beach Florida. There’s a nice little park there with fishing, a boat ramp and a small covered sitting area.

The light was getting better, so I was still shooting at ISO 400. I was on the tripod, but I needed enough shutter speed to keep the bird’s movement from blurring. With ISO 400 and an aperture of f/5.6, I was able to get a shutter speed of 1/60 second. I was using a medium 40-150mm lens at the maximum focal distance of 150mm.

I boosted the exposure a bit in Adobe Camera Raw which added a little noise. I’m willing to live with that because the closest bird can now be seen clearly.

I am very familiar with these birds on both coasts. I was in the US Coast Guard in the 70s performing search and rescue and tending aids to navigation. On the east coast we worked around pelicans and ospreys, while on the west coast seals were added to the mix.

The seals in San Francisco Bay believed we had put the buoys there for them to sun themselves. When we went to service these buoys, we needed a stick to prod the seals off so we could do our work. The seals would swim around complaining and then climb back on as we backed off. I wish I had some of those old photos, but they were lost in a move long ago.

Camera Info: Olympus E-520, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 400, 150mm (40-150mm lens)

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