Semipalmated Plover – How to get Sandy Pants



Getting “Down & Dirty” is a way of being at eye level with your subject which brings the viewer into the bird’s world and it can make the image feel more intimate too. Achieving those low angle perspectives can be quite messy and/or uncomfortable depending on the habitat.

The day I took this Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) image I had spotted several different species of shorebirds resting on the sand of Fort De Soto’s north beach, the morning was cool and many of the birds had fluffed up their feathers to conserve heat.

I didn’t want to disturb the resting birds so I knew that my approach would have to be very slow and that I had to get low to the ground. I was about 40 feet from the birds when I dropped down on my belly and began to leisurely move forward on the sugar sand using my elbows and legs to push & pull myself in the direction of the birds all the while being careful not to get the sand on my lens or camera. With my backpack on my back, and the lens sticking way out in the front I may have looked like a weird hunch-backed lizard or a very skinny, long-nosed Loggerhead Turtle.

Resting Semipalmated Plover – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/750, ISO 250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The birds didn’t care so neither did I.

It probably took me over 20 minutes sand crawling to get close enough to the birds to fill the frame without causing them alarm and with each push forward in the dry sand some of it would creep into the waist band of my pants plus the front pockets would fill up too. After I was through photographing the shorebirds I put myself into reverse sand crawling which pushed sand up into my pant legs. By the time I felt like I could stand back up without flushing the birds I’d pushed through a lot of sand.

What happens when you stand back up after sand has crept into your pants?

First, know that you have gotten a free dermabrasion session and your skin will feel baby soft. Second, grab that extra set of clothes you brought (I hope you know to bring them), head to the shower and rinse off before putting on those clean clothes or your ride home in those sandy pants will feel like your clothes are lined with emery boards!

Oh, and when you do stand up and shake off the sand you kind of feel like Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons, remember the clouds of dust that appeared every time he moved? Maybe I am showing my age?

Mia (Sandy Pants) McPherson, OntheWingPhotography.com

Avatar

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson is a nature lover, wildlife watcher and an avian photographer. Mia first become serious about bird photography when she moved to Florida in 2004. Her recent move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing them. With so many birds species there easily accessible it wasn’t long before she was hooked. By learning more about each species, she can anticipate their behaviour and create opportunities to obtain ever better images of those species.

close
Vanished - Megascops Choliba by Jose Garcia Allievi

Discover hidden wildlife with our FREE newsletters

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Avatar

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson is a nature lover, wildlife watcher and an avian photographer. Mia first become serious about bird photography when she moved to Florida in 2004. Her recent move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing them. With so many birds species there easily accessible it wasn’t long before she was hooked. By learning more about each species, she can anticipate their behaviour and create opportunities to obtain ever better images of those species.

Share this post with your friends



Facebook Comments

3
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
avatar
Mia McPherson

Thank you Steven and Ken.

Steven Scott

Nice post.  I love Fort Desoto!

Glenn Bartley

Mia, it sound like you really worked for and “earned” this photo. Good job the sand was dry! Great capture and very interesting article.