Today I am featuring a picture I took back in July, but only processed a few days ago. I was not sure of how it would turn out so I never played with it until now but in the end I am quite happy with it! I gave it a Christmas in July themed title because it just seemed to fit.
Black Skimmers are amazing birds to watch. They fly just above the water and lower their large lower mandible into the water. They can detect when they touch a fish and snap their beak together. And they do not move slow, they fly quite fast over the water. It is amazing how they have learned to fish, it is quite unique.
Because skimmers often seem to come out of nowhere you need to have your camera set up properly if you hope to catch one skimming. For this image I was set up with a shutter speed of 1/3200 of a second. Many people make the mistake of keeping their shutter speed too low when shooting birds. All birds tend to move fast, even the sitting birds, when they decide to move they move quick. All this shutter speed may result in needing to raise your ISO for a proper exposure. One piece of advice I can give is to remember, a noisy picture is better than and out of focus picture. In “One Skimmer Skimming” I had the ISO at 640 even though it was a bright sunny day.
Another thing to remember is it is better to under expose than to over expose. Birds with white on them are hard to shoot, but if you over expose the whites it is very, very difficult if not impossible to recover them in post processing. If you have a bird with black and white on it then the challenges are even greater. However, usually our eyes find pure black more acceptable then pure white in a photograph. So if you have to choose one to blow out, blow out your shadows a little.