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Swimming Darter

Swimming Darter
Photo Information
Copyright: John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, NIKKOR AF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 ED DX VR, Optex 77mm Circular Polariser
Exposure: f/8, 1/90 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-28 17:14
Viewed: 3493
Points: 31
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is the final shot of the female Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) that I’m going to post. She thought our shooting session was over in the previous shot, but I had to take a couple more.

I liked this one because the bird presents several characteristics unique to this type of bird, in this swim of hers. The reason Darters (and Cormorants) dry out their wings in their characteristic pose is because their feathers are not waterproofed by oils like ducks, and they can get waterlogged. While in the water this allows them to dive and swim underwater easier. They also swim much lower in the water when they are swimming at the surface, as this one is. In this shot you can also see the wide spread tail which can be used as a shade to attract fish (and gives their American Cousin the nick name “Water Turkey”), and that long neck and beak which are so effective in darting and stabbing to catch their prey, (giving them their other nick name “Snake Bird”).

Some of this from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anhinga and http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=196
ID from: Simpson K. and Day N. (2004), Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Penguin Books, Camberwell

Workflow for this shot was as follows:
The shoot – shot in Raw with Jpeg reference (95 mm ISO 400 f8 1/500)
NEF file adjusted for exposure and shadow, and vignetting
Adjusted levels – black points– minimal
Adjusted curves for contrast – minimal s-curve
Burned with overlay layer (5% opacity black)
Added saturation layer +15 to master
Saved as a tiff
for this post cropped for position, resized, selected on “front” water and reduced noise - created a new layer, inversed selection, selectively sharpened bird, framed and saved as a jpeg

rcrick, kebapci, jusninasirun, timonejoon, Jamesp, mariki, mlines, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

A nice darter catch with good sharpness and details. We used to have a kind to this genus but it is extinct now.

Hey John,
Another nice one to add to the collection, he really look like he's going to swim off the top right of screen, excellent detail, lovely light and just a hint of reflection on the water, nice work, all the best Cheers Rick :)

Hello John,

I did not anticipate this one in the sequence and thanks for sharing this in TN. I like the graceful feeling of this darter in the water. You have kept the trailing ripple very well showing the path of the swim. The image is clean and sharp in pleasant lighting. Nicely posed with the head up with all details clearly written in this image. Well done for another top quality image and have a wonderful day ahead.


  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-02-28 21:18]

Hello John,
It's late and I'm running out of time
So I'm just marking today.. Congratulations


Hi John

Swiming with proud, nicely framed and nicely composed. i realy like the pose of bird.
well done

  • Good 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2008-02-28 22:04]


Alittle soft on focus ...

Well captured.


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-02-28 22:39]

Hi John

Excellent POV with outstanding colours and detail. Well observed and captured.


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-02-29 7:00]

Hi John,
Wonderful action moment and the motion effect on the water looks fabulous. You have timed your shot well. Very neat and sharp image with perfect lighting. Excellent POV to portray this scene and very nicely composed. Kudos.

Hello John,

I like very much the composition and the pose of the bird. Good focus. Very nice impression of speed with the wake behind the bird which seems to be gliding throug the water. Very nice light and colours.

Hi John,
Grandiose de le voir gliser sur l'eau comme cela, très bon POV trées bele composition.

Hi John,
a good capture
Salut, Ferran

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-03-02 9:04]

Hello John, it looks like a good swimmer! Very good capture of this fantastic bird,great composition and very good technique, thanks!


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-03-02 19:23]

Hello John

Excellent notes,you answered many questions for me.
Very well captured with excellent sharpness and focus.
The POV is very good and you have composed the shot nicely.


Hi John, This guy is very streamlined but swims low in the water! Beautiful elegant bird with the long neck and fine plumage. Good notes on your settings. TFS. Murray.

Hehe John,
Funny title very well adapted at this great shot, lovely pose, colours and composition,

Hi John,

Your note is detailed. A good capture of the darter swimming away and of the wave. The point of view is showing the details and colors of the bird. The photo is clear and precise. The colors are good. Have a nice day.


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