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Old Aug 16, 2010, 7:48 AM   #1
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Default Loon

I took the grandchildren out tubing last week and spotted some Loons. I gave the boat controls over to my capable grandson and he snuck up close enough for me to get this one with the K-7 and Tokina 80-400 at 400mm. The light was nice and warm with the low sun angle of dusk.



Lou
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 9:47 AM   #2
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Wow! what a beautiful shot.
The photo looks very natural and very pleasing to look at.
It is also very sharp for 400mm, did you do a lot of pp?

All the best,

Carlo
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 5:03 PM   #3
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Hi Lou,

Congrats!! I know that's been a "holy grail" shot for you for a while.

Nicely done, with great composition and a nice low perspective angle and perfect exposure and focus. It's easy to blow out the white spots on the loon's body.

For those who have not gotten a chance to shoot these guys, they are very difficult to get close to, They're very wary of anything within about 40 ft. If they sense anything that makes them nervous they dive, and can swim underwater taking them totally out of range. Then if do you get a chance, you've got to get the exposure just right, plus get lucky to capture a good pose -- and do it quickly.

Loons, Pied Billed Grebes, and Belted Kingfishers are probably the three toughest birds to shoot around the water -- for me.

Very nice capture!

Scoott
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 7:15 PM   #4
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That is a great photo, Lou-

I love it! Nice job.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 8:39 PM   #5
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Hi Lou,

Congrats!! I know that's been a "holy grail" shot for you for a while.

Scoott
Yes Scott my grandson and I have been chasing Loons around the lake for several years. As you said the Loon is a tough target because it is very skittish and it can dive deep and long.

I find that later in the season and toward evening we can get closer. I think that they get used to the motor boat traffic on the lake and seem more tolerant of our presence later in the summer.

I have to say that without my grandson's skilled boat handling I would not have had this success. He has become adept at sneaking up on the Loons and positioning me with the light behind me to get the shot. There is always a lot of luck and I had nice light for this shot. We are also blessed with a good crop of Loons this year.

As you said so well, it is easy to blow the highlights on this bird. I always try to underexpose a little to be on the safe side.

Lou
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 8:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JC de Jonge View Post
Wow! what a beautiful shot.
The photo looks very natural and very pleasing to look at.
It is also very sharp for 400mm, did you do a lot of pp?

All the best,

Carlo
Thanks Carlo. I had to shoot at a high ISO in order to not blur the shot. The boat was moving and so was the Loon. I was also hand holding and standing in a rocking boat.

I shot in raw and did an adjustment for color temp. Then I put the photo through Photomatix to get rid of the grain. I adjusted levels and then sharpened to taste using High Pass filter.

Lou
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 8:56 PM   #7
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That is a great photo, Lou-

I love it! Nice job.

Sarah Joyce
Thank you Sarah. I'm glad you enjoyed the photo. I love the Loons and the mournful sound that they make. They remind me that I'm in Maine and not MA when I hear it.

Lou
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 10:24 PM   #8
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Wonderful shot! I don't think I've ever really seen a loon, much less had a chance to shoot one. I have tried my hand at some grebes - I've managed a few distant shots once but nothing with any detail. They didn't spend enough time on the surface the day I was shooting and you can never predict where they'll resurface. And they always seem to know when you point a camera lens at them. Loons seem to swim lower in the water, too.
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 11:38 PM   #9
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This is really an achievement. As Scott, and you, say they are extremely difficult to come near. Nailing the lighting, sharpness and composition on top of that is simply admirable. Congrats, and thanks for posting, Lou!

Kjell
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 5:33 AM   #10
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Nice work! You have a really wonderful photo in every way. Well done!

Ned
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