Windows For the Soul - Photography

Catching-up with some Cormorant photos

I have been neglecting this blog for over a year now and who is to blame for that? I could say it is Instagram, as I have only posted there throughout my absence here, even though only occasionally. However, the fact is that I have been lazy, dodging the cumbersome task of posting with RapidWeaver. To try to put an end to this, I will post here, from now on, whatever I post on Instagram. I will start by posting, in retrospect, a few of the photos that I have posted on Instagram since then, either in groups or one at a time, as I feel like it along the way.
I have been chasing Cormorants for a couple of years, whenever I have a little time to spare while they are around for the colder seasons. More often than not, I end up with ordinary photos, little more than a portrait of a bird, doing the usual stuff - flying, posing on a roosting spot, swimming, etc. - and almost always noticeably wary of my presence and, frequently, too far away for my maximum 420mm focal length on my FX cameras.

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Nikon D3S, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

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Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

A cormorant roosted on a pole is an ordinary picture, even if it looks like it is posing for the camera in a seemingly menacing stance. A photo of it just as it landing on the pole is a little less common, but still nothing to be very happy with.
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Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

So, I tend to struggle to get something out of my memory cards that I like and I often have to try to get some aspect in the photo to add the unusual to what would otherwise be plainly banal. A Cormorant flying with graffiti as background might just be unusual enough, hopefully... If not, I reckon it is, at least, a curious sign of the times we are living in.

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Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

These are quite active birds, depending on factors such as, I would say, time of the day, weather, tide, location and human presence. Ideally, getting some hunting action would be great. However, whenever I manage to photograph them when they score, I alway felt disappointed with the result either due to excessive distance or very poor light conditions, clearly degrading image quality via lower than adequate shutter speed
or excessively high ISO.

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Nikon D600, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

Chasing cormorants around and trying to do something out of the ordinary in circumstances that are far from ideal means that I have to look for something different. A reflection in the water waiting for the right time of the day at the right spot can grant me some odd colours in the water on what would otherwise be just a picture of a cormorant swimming about.

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Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

What makes a different picture? Having a cormorant flying in the distance against a colourful late sunset sky is a bit of a cliché, even though it might have a set of colours pleasing to the eye. I wonder if a little odd detail on the photo is enough to turn the cliché into a different photo...well, I suppose not....
A moment of group behaviour of a few cormorants roosted on the same tree, early in the evening, against the light of a past-sunset sky, or just the silhouette of a group of birds perched on a tree against a colourful strip of the early evening sky.


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Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

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Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF, Nikon TC-14E

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Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 ED-IF

None of these photos is a shot that I can say that I have nailed it, a shot that I can say that I can comfortably think that it is a decent photo and that I have done a nice job. I will keep on chasing the cormorants and, hopefully, I will get such a shot. Until then, I kind of like these photos, but I do not expect them to pass the scrutiny of an expert, whatever that is.