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Pass the Fish

Pass the Fish
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: 2008-03-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, AF-S VR Micro Nikkor 105mm 1:2.8G ED
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/45 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
Map: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-05-27 19:17
Viewed: 3708
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
My thanks go to Fatih Sam (fthsm) for this shot of the 3 Dusky Moorhens (Gallinula tenebrosa), and others that have yet to be posted. When I commented on a shot of a “ Welcome Swallow” of his, he told me where he took it, then after, sent me a great map outlining where this and many different birds could be found in the park, and he was right, it is one of the better areas I’ve seen to shoot birds in the Sydney area.

The Dusky Moorhen is the middle sized bird of two others that are similar to it, the Eurasian Coot and the Purple Swamp Hen. All of these can be found in Bicentennial Park. It is widespread from Indonesia, through New Guinea and on the Eastern side of Australia, with some found in the Southern Corner of Western Australia.

They feed in the water and on land, on algae, water plants and grasses, mollusks and other invertebrates, and based on this shot, small fish. They don’t dive when feeding, if they dip under water for food, the tail is always visible above the water, when upended.

They form breeding groups of two to seven birds with all members defending the territory. Two or more females will lay their eggs in the same nest and all members help to incubate the eggs and feed the young.

Much of this from: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=195

I was focusing to get a shot of the two birds on the right, playing with a small fish in these weeds, when the one on the left (an older bird) honked and came charging over. For a couple of minutes they played a game of “Pass the Fish” where the two on the right would pass the fish to the one on the left and it would present it to the other bird. I had no idea birds played like this. Conditions were dark, so I had to slow it down to 1/45, and even though it was on a tripod, I got a bit of blur on the top right bird as he was reaching for the fish.

I follow a generic workflow now as outlined in my Bio.
Details and differences to this are as follows:
Shot taken at 105mm, ISO 320, f/2.8, 1/45 sec
Levels – tweaked, midpoint lighted
Used overlay layer with 5-10% opacity black and white brush for dodging and burning
Saturation +30 to master, (based on proof colours compare)
Saved at 98% quality for 292K

rcrick, CeltickRanger, maurydv, SueThomson, darwin, uleko, Jamesp, mlines, Adanac, angela926, MMM, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To jusninasirun: Very ObservantJPlumb 2 06-04 12:16
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi John,

Great shot of these three Dusky Moorhen's, the detail in the plumage of all three Moorhen's is excellent; love the lighting and the high POV, well framed and composed mate, all the best,

Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-05-28 0:43]

Hi John,
Wonderful shot of this trio having a meeting of sorts. Very neat and sharp image with superb light and exposure handling. The grass and water plants filled watertank provides a fine setting and I like your skillful POV to portray them. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

Bellissimo momento di cattura, ottimo POV che esalta anche la bellezza dello stagno, molto bella la composizione che documenta molto bene le relazioni parentali di queste gallinelle, ottima nitidezza, bellissimi colori. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

Hi John
Lovely capture of these guys and interesting note reading about the passing of the fish to each other. Good colour and light.

Hi John
Great capture of these three moorhens in there natural environment
Interesting group shot and pose with good detail and nice color under difficult conditions.
tfs jon

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-05-28 11:55]

Hello John,
A very fine capture of these three Moorhens having a squabble over a fish. Beautiful colours of their plumage, good sharpness and a fine composition. I have good memories of seeing this species in Bicentennial Park!
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-05-28 15:14]

Hi John

Greetings from Jasper National Park.
Lovely composition - rich warm colours and very good detail.


  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2008-05-28 17:46]

Hi John, Well timed to get the three feeding at the same dish, so to speak. It is a very good nature photo. Excellent presentation. I like the darker colours. TFS. Murray.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-05-28 19:01]

Hello John,
The moorhens aren't the only ones with a great catch. This is a marvelous image John, great details, action and colors well captured. Thanks for sharing my friend.

Hello John,
Very good shot, excellent sharpness and depth of field, nice colors, good clarity and great action.

hello John

for this kind of photos in French we say « photo prise sur le vif »,
i don't kno how to good translate it, you where at the good
place the good moment to do this wonderful image of bird's life,
a different fine POV from above to show us the action,
excellent sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-05-29 6:29]

Hi John
Nice action capture.good POV and very sharp image.Excellent DOF.Detail from the dark colors are excellent.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-05-30 1:56]

Hey John so what was the meeting all about...quite a serious discussion going on here....impeccable timing to capture the dramatic action..Is this two Misters and one Miss or the other way around..am not sure..but a great scene and the colours are so well co-ordinated on theri plumage and in theri habitat with that red on them standing out perfectly.
Very well done.
TFS & cheers

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-05-31 19:28]

Hello John

A lovely capture of this trio of moorhens.
The POV is wonderful,you managed a very good pov.
Lovely sharp details and focus.
The colours are vivid and well saturated.
Great job.

What lovely timing!And the title is very apt...
I love the way you've used the natural light here...
Very well done, especially since you've not just got a bird, but clearly show us it's home ground(environment), too!

Hello John. Your PP is amazing here. You have made the image so pleasant on that clear water's surface. Excellent sharpness and detail without ant sign of overworked. Clean image and very well done as always. Gotta be in my favorite! Regards. Jusni

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