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High Stepping Bird

High Stepping Bird
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: 2008-04-06
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, AF-S VR Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G ED, Optex 77mm Circular Polariser
Exposure: f/6.7, 1/500 seconds
Map: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-05-29 18:02
Viewed: 5064
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I’ve been down to Jervis Bay a couple of times over the past couple of months. It is an amazing area to visit with beautiful white sands or rocky shores on the beach and great parkland, with all kinds of wildlife. While visiting Huskisson I came across this high stepping bird, a Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus). He and his mate were walking along the rocky shoreline, just at the edge of the surf, looking for dinner.

The Sooty Oystercatcher is said to be the only all-black shorebird in Australia. They are endemic to Australia and is widespread around all of the coastline. This was the first time I’ve seen them myself. They are strictly a coastal bird, usually found within 50 meters of the water. They prefer rocky shores.

They feed on mollusks, crabs and other crustaceans, marine worms, starfish, sea urchins and small fish. They use their long bill to stab at prey or to lever, prise or hammer open food items. They are able to drink sea water.

Both members of a breeding pair will incubate the eggs and care for the young. They nest on a srape on the ground, among pebbles or shells on rocky shores or cliffs.

Much of this from: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=186

Shooting this bird and his mate wasn’t real difficult. They had a flight distance threshold of about 30 feet. As I moved closer than this, they walked further down the beach, or they would fly a few feet down the beach. By moving up and down with them I was able to get a few shots, like this, and a couple in flight.

I follow a generic workflow now as outlined in my Bio.
Details and differences to this are as follows:
Shot taken at 200mm, ISO 250, f/6.7, 1/500 sec
Levels – tweaked, midpoint lightened, masked water at 70%
Added colour balance layer, and tweaked to match jpeg closer
Used overlay layer with 5-10% opacity black and white brush for dodging and burning
Saturation (incremental +5 to master, +15 to yellow and red(based on proof colours compare)
Saved at 90% quality for 297K

goldyrs, CeltickRanger, elizabeth, maurydv, mariki, Miss_Piggy, Juyona, jconceicao, SueThomson, ramthakur, mlines, Adanac, rcrick, uleko, jusninasirun, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To mlines: Oystercatcher DistributionJPlumb 1 06-01 15:41
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Critiques [Translate]


This is a very nicely composed image. I really like the background here - the waves add an interesting touch to your photograph. The bird is nicely in focus, it is well detailed and POV is just right. Very nicely done.

Best Regards,


  • Great 
  • darwin Gold Star Critiquer [C: 259 W: 0 N: 403] (1401)
  • [2008-05-29 21:55]

Hi John
Well captured with fine detail and nice glint in eye
Good natural color and great composition
tfs jon

Beautifully sharp, great colour impact and strong composition.

Nice black and nice white.
excellent shot...

great portrait, TFS Ori

Splendido ritratto di questo limicolo, simile alla beccaccia di mare (Haematopus ostralegus), ottimi POV e composizione, eccellente nitidezza, molto belli i dettagli dell'occhio e le goccioline sul dorso, bellissimi e saturi i colori, splendido lo sfondo del mare con la piccola onda. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

Hello John,

Superb picture of this Oystercatcher. Splendid composition with a beautiful surrounding (algae and wave). Excellent sharpness. Wonderful colours.

Hallo John
This week time is critical; however...............................This is just stunning. Colours, details, natural surrounding, motion, pose and your interesting note. I really like this one especially the eyes are beautiful and attention grabbing. Kind regards and thanks for sharing.

hello John

excellent shot of this water bird, with very fine POV, DOF and framing,
great sharpness of the bird and his dark plumage,
i love the contrast between the colours of his beak,
eye and legs with the dark colours of his plumage, TFS


A very sharp shot, John...The details are amazingly clear...
Very well framed and captured!

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-05-30 8:41]

Hola amigo,
buena captura,
perfecta escena y foco,
magnífico ambiente y detalles,

Hi John!
Very nice natural composition and beautifull light. well done!
Cheers, Adrian

Hello John,

Fantastic photo.Lighting,composition and detail are good.

Hello John,
Excellent capture, fantastic sharpness and good depth of field, lovely colors and clarity, very good details and nice catchlight.

Hi John
This shot of the Oystercatcher is pretty neat...it has character! I like the way he is high-stepping with the wave rolling in the background. Nice catchlight in the eye too.

Hi John,
I like this bird very much. It has such lovely eyes and a matching long beak along with a brownish plumage.
The image is well taken from a good perspective. The waves and the water foliage in the foreground add to the appeal of this lovely composition.
TFS and regards.

Hi John, Superb capture of this unusually long beaked bird. Having not seen one before, it is an incentive to get sown to that part of NSW. The colour of it's large beak is brilliant. The frame is impressive. TFS. Murray.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-06-01 16:44]

Hi John,
Outstanding composition of this beautiful species searching for food at the surf zone. Fantastic colors and I love the frozen wave. Great job my friend.

Hi John,

What a stunner I keep finding myself looking at that amazing eye, the colours and detail are just beautiful, love the frozen action in the water, and the detail in the plumage is just wonderful, perfect Pov, really nice work mate, all the best,

Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-06-02 7:04]

Hi John,
Outstanding shot of this great looking bird with such lovely colours and details. The red eye, bill and legs stand out so well. Superb lighting and exposure levels and I like its pose on the shore. Excellent DOF, POV and composition. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-06-03 7:17]

Hello John,
We hoped to see this beautiful endemic bird while in Australia but we didn't succeed. Now this is a lovely capture showing it very sharply in focus. Great details and fine colours against the beautiful background of the shore. Excellent work!
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hello John. this is a very good shot with the striking colored beaks, eyes and feet against the black body. Good timing in the walking mode. I like the sharpness of the splash in the background and the clarity in the foreground here. Well done and best regards. Jusni

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-06-03 10:27]

Hello John

The lighting is well done and the colours really stand out.The feet,beak and eye are outstanding.
Excellent focus and details.
Very good pov and dof.
The surf makes a lovely natural setting.


  • Great 
  • zeca Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 373 W: 14 N: 539] (2887)
  • [2008-07-01 21:13]

Hi John!
Excellent work on the exposition, capturing details on the black feathers. The beak is something really beautiful! Congratulations for one more nice capture!

Hi John,

This bird is impressive with his orange beak. The details and colors of the bird are clear and sharp. The capture of the wave coming to the beach is an asset tyo the composition. The subject is well frame. Have a nice day.


Hello John.

Excellent image, nice composition and colors.

Jose Luis.

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