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Razorbill in the Rain

Razorbill in the Rain
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-28
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 1D Mark II, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-07-06 3:25
Viewed: 3843
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I find razorbills very difficult to photograph - they are black and it is difficult to get they eye - I have got it in this shot - well on my screen anyway!.

This is another shot I took on Lunga (incidentally, the name is derived from the Norse word for puffin). There are a lot more razorbills on the Treshnish than in the Farne Islands as they are a more northerly species. They were very close - some literally by the path.

The Razorbill, Alca torda, is a large alcid, 38-43 cm in length, with a 60-69 cm wingspan. It is the only member of the genus Alca.

Adult birds are black on their upperparts and white on the breast and belly. The thick black bill has a blunt end. The tail is pointed and longer than that of a Murre. In winter, the black face becomes white.

Their breeding habitat is islands, rocky shores and cliffs on northern Atlantic coasts, in eastern North America as far south as Maine, and in western Europe from northwestern Russia to northern France. They usually nest in colonies and lay their eggs on bare rock or ground.

North American birds migrate offshore and south, ranging from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to New England. Eurasian birds also winter at sea, with some moving south as far as the western Mediterranean.

These birds forage for food by swimming underwater. They mainly eat fish, like sandeels, herring and capelin, also some crustaceans and marine worms.

The auks, particularly razorbills and guillemots, are the seabirds most seriously affected by oil pollution, probably because they spend more time on the water than gulls or cormorants which feed at sea but return to land to roost. The auks are also more likely to dive when in trouble, so collect more oil on their feathers. Regular oil spillages over the last 30 years or so have probably been gradually decreasing their numbers.

Another problem which has come to light recently is starvation. Razorbills, guillemots and puffins have been dying in their hundreds, unable to find sufficient fish to sustain them through the winter. It seems that overfishing of the North Sea waters by man is depriving the birds of their natural prey.

SelenE, uleko, Argus, JORAPAVI, Kathleen, JPlumb, dew77, fartash, Adanac, nglen, Kaszek, rousettus, gracious, PaulH, ramthakur, marhowie, Tage, delic, pekkavalo1 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-07-06 3:34]

Hello James,
Another lovely bird from you! Terrific close capture of this Razorbill showing 'razor' sharp details and very fine control of black/whites. Very fine contrasting background too. Well done!
Many thanks and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-07-06 3:37]

Hi James,
It's a beautiful bird. I liked the POV and the pose you captured. Focus, colors, clarity and composition is very good.
It's very sad to read that they are facing starvation problems due to overfishing...
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-07-06 3:53]

Rain or not, this is a fine shot, James!
This is sharp and with excellent BG, but I might not have cropped this shot of a Razorbill so tight. That's a matter of taste and does bot detrat from the fine quality of thi shot.
Well done and TFS!

Hola James,
Bonita captura de este curioso y bello pájaro, buena definición con un color y luz muy agradables, TFS. Saludos
José Ramón

Hi James.
Another wonderful image of yours. Exposure, colour and detail are great, the rain adds another element they live in.

New Zealand

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-07-06 4:20]

Hi James,
a superb shot of this Razorbill.
Sharp and detailed with a brilliant DOF.
Well done,

Hi James, your lighting in this shot is excellent. To get that eye the way you did is incredible. The bird is sharp with very good control of the light in the light and dark regions. The rain on his back is a nice touch. The shot is very well composed with great depth of field.

Hello James,
You managed very well with exposure as I can see its eye clearly and the white is perfect. Details are very good too as we can see every little drop of water. I like this POV and this DOF a lot. This is very well done with a beautiful specie! Thanks,

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-07-06 5:28]

Hello James,
Very nice capture of this razorbill.Clear details,natural colors,BG and framing are excellent.

  • Great 
  • radz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 598 W: 11 N: 72] (436)
  • [2007-07-06 5:39]

Lovely shot,exposure is spot on.

Hello James
Very nice shot of this razorbill,very intersting bird,
Great focusing,BG and sharpness,
Fantastic colors and POV,Superb shot,friend.

Good Luck

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-07-06 10:35]

Hello James,
Excellent exposure and focus results in an outstanding image of this razorbill, thanks for sharing james.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-07-06 12:18]

Hello James,
Beautiful sharp photo with an amazing POV. Good contrast against the BG. Very good BG.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-07-06 14:08]

Hi James. You have come back with some very good pictures. as you say not a easy bird to take. you have captured it very well. the eye can be seen clearly. i like the water droplets on the back. fine detail , with a nice POV and DOF. very well done. good notes too. TFS
Nick.. have a good weekend.

  • Great 
  • Kaszek Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 237 W: 50 N: 391] (1451)
  • [2007-07-06 14:26]

Hi James,
Black and white bird. And full of colours BG. Nicely composed.
Bird is beautiful. Very good POV and use of light.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-07-06 20:44]

Hello James

A beautiful capture of this razorbill.The focus is excellent and the details are wonderful.The POV and DOF are excellent.The OOF BG is super.TFS


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-07-07 0:25]

Hi James,
Wonderful shot of this Razorbill with immaculate sharpness and superb exposure of the white and black plumage. Excellent POV to capture this marvellous pose. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

Hi James,
fine shor with very good POV and exposure.
Good details ut it's pity the DOF is a bit shallow, had
been nice to see the feet abd tail in focus.
Maybe it's a bit tight but I like the compo.
Well done.

Hi James,
Excellent shot like your other posts. Details, focus, sharpness, POV, BG very very nice. great eyes contact with its small eyes. good notes.
have a nice weekend. Ahmet

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-07-07 19:43]

Hello James,
I know how it is to photograph black-headed subjects, but you managed to capture this one very well..
Great colors and details, wonderful POV and composition..
Well done

"I'll Be Back"

Hello James,
Good exposure and I like his pose!
The white part of the plumage comes out well, and it is amazing to see the small white spots in the dark parts...
Close-up work is well done and the composition works well!
Pablo -

Hello James,
Best POV with perfect sharpness, actual colour and much details in your captured here!
very well composed and well seen
thanks for the useful notes as well
greeting from NZ

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-07-09 3:24]

Hi James,

great pose and excellent exposure control, which as you say isn't easy. Those droplets add some nice relief to the black back of the Razorbill.


Can't express in words how happy I am to be back home in India and able to get back to my TN friends without much time lapse, James.

This is a lovely picture of this strange bird I have seen for the first time. The image is sharp and clear and you have got the eye as best as can be seen in natural circumstances.
I find the combination of black and white on the bird very charming.
Your note speaks of starvation deaths these creatures are facing due to over-fishing. Makes one feel depresssed about man's utter disregard for wild life in pursuit of his own selfish ends.

Hello James,
Great job on this difficult to expose bird.
Very good sharpness, POV, color, BG, and framing. Excellent note.
Very well done.

  • Great 
  • Tage Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 19 W: 0 N: 43] (251)
  • [2007-07-13 19:16]

Interesting close up,
I got a picture of the common murre which must be a relative to this bird.

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-07-14 9:54]

Hi James,
You have certainly the nailed the focus in this one. Your note is a poignant one. It reminded me of the fast declining stellar sealions off Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. While they were suspecting a disease to be the culprit, one cannot discount the oil spills (Exxon-spilling our products all over the world!) and food shortage. Regards,

Hi James,
Excellent capture of Razorbill. Great composition and pose, excellent lighting and pin sharp details are very well presented.

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