Sidelit Piping Plover



I was photographing one evening in Florida while laying in the mudflat of a tidal lagoon, there were Dunlins, Black-bellied Plovers and Greater Yellowlegs in front of me where the evening light was great.

Out of the corner of my eye I caught a bit of movement and turned my head towards what I could see was a Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) looking for prey in the mudflats. The light was not what most photographers would call “great“, the plover was below a dune and the angle of the sun in the west caused the bird to be sidelit.

Some photographers would pass on the shot because of the “tough”, “harsh” or “contrasty” light, but I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Sidelit Piping Plover – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Even though the sun wasn’t behind my shoulder and the light wasn’t golden this image has a great mood to it. I know I could have used flash to brighten up the bird and the setting but if I had it certainly would not be this moody, besides; I very rarely use flash.

This Piping Plover image reminds me to try to photograph birds in other than perfect light. Sidelit and backlit images can be spectacular so I don’t like passing up taking the chance that I might just get a great shot despite what some photographers think of as bad light.

Mia McPherson, OntheWingPhotography.com

Mia McPherson

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.

Mia McPherson

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.

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Mia McPherson

Bob and Steven, thank you for your comments on this image.

Bob M
Bob M

Bob M    Loved the picture.  I see blended color, excellent composition. and the interest directed perfrctly.

Steven Scott

Nice.