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Kawau, the black shag

Kawau, the black shag
Photo Information
Copyright: Pam Russell (coasties) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3749 W: 483 N: 8155] (28054)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-08-20
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 10D, Canon 70-300mm DO IS USM, Digital RAW 100, Marumi UV 58mm
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-09-01 4:52
Viewed: 3988
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Kawau, the black shag

In New Zealand, all members of the Phalacrocoracidae are called shags, whereas elsewhere the term cormorant is used. The term shag seems to have come about in reference to the crest on the head of some species.

The black or great shag, is a cosmopolitan species and is distributed widely from eastern North America, Greenland, Iceland, across Europe and Asia, Africa and Australasia.

The great cormorant is the bird which since ancient times in China, were tamed and trained to catch and bring back fish to their owners, just as falcons were used to catch game in midair or on land. Sometimes they were completely domesticated, their eggs hatched under hens, and the young fed by hand on chopped eel and other fish. Training started when they were fully grown and feathered. One would be tied by a string to a stake at the water’s edge. At a whistle signal it was pushed into the water and tossed a bit of fish. Then, after a different whistle, it was pulled back and rewarded again. As soon as the bird got the idea, live fish were used. Then it was graduated to a boat or raft and a string tied around its neck so that it couldn’t swallow the fish it caught. With several of these trained birds, a Chinese fisherman was in business.

The Japanese also use the great cormorant for sport fishing and, in Elizabethan England, the Master of the Cormorants was a member of the royal household.

The above obtained from NZ Birds


Camera: Canon 10D
Time of day: 12161 p.m.
Date: 30th August 2006
Weather conditions: Clear
Lens: Canon 70-300mm DO IS USM
Filter: Marumi 58mm UV
Shutter Speed: 1/30
F-Stop: F/13
Focal Length: 300mm
ISO: 100
Suppoert: Hand Held
Original file type: Digital Raw

snowfalken, Signal-Womb, aido, jepc has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

great shot. I really like the patterns on the back of the shag. It shows the feathers off really well. Composition offset to the right is also excellent and sharpness adn DOF are also good.


Perfect. Sharp and good composition. I like it..

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2006-09-01 7:00]

Very nice sharp composition, great colours and background. Interesting details are the feather pattern and the green eye.
TFS, Ulla

Ottima foto, Pam!
Il cormorano, molto nitido, si staglia benne dallo sfondo, ottima composizione, bravo!

Ciao e grazie.

Hi Pam,
Excellent shot on this post sitting Cormorant. Nice quality light and a spot on exposure has everything on the tech. side looking great. What makes this shot for me is the nice isolation and composition.
A classic shot done extremely well. Nice one!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2006-09-01 7:11]

Hello Pam,
I like this shot: the shag is well portayed against a background that is blurred but just right to show it in its right environment. Beautiful!
Regards, Ivan
Ps. It is perhaps worth clarifying that your shot shows what might be called Black Shag in NZ (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) or Little Black shag in Ozzie but is not the same species as the Great Cormorant (P. carbo) used by the Chinese for fishing.

Hi Pam,
This is a very nice catch. I like the expression of the bird that looking at the water. He seems very think full :) Great composition and good details. TFS,

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2006-09-01 13:42]

Lovely composition, good subject, great background. Good technique too. Thanks Pam.


Hi Pam,
Lovely picture of this shag! Very good composition, nice colours and detail! Great work!


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-09-02 0:48]

I really like the details on your shag's back, Pam.
What a beautiful pattern they make.
NIce POV and composition.
TFS. : )

Once again a great work of art of yours! Brilliant colors, great details, nice defocused BG and a perfect light management, all put together in an excellent composition and beautifully framed. Congratulations and TFS!


Hello Pam, brilliant shot with excellent sharpness and detail on the plumage. I like your perfect composition on this, very good work as always. WELL DONE.

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-09-03 13:24]

Hi Pam,
This is great, a perfect exposure IMO. The bright part of the background is controlled perfectly while retaining detail in the dark areas of the bird. Great detail and composition too. And a superb result for a hand-held shot at 1/30! Great work.

  • Great 
  • jepc Silver Star Critiquer [C: 21 W: 0 N: 8] (132)
  • [2006-09-03 21:00]

Hi Pam,
A perfect exposition for an black subject! Excellent composition and details

Joćo Eduardo

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