Flying Puffin_MG_5563


My photo tour group  in Lake Clark National Park this past July was such fun, and they were all really good photographers. We were there mostly for the bears, so the horned puffins (Fratercula corniculata) were an added bonus – if the weather cooperated. It did and we got to take the boat ride to the island. When we arrived it was quite foggy, but the closer to the cliffs we got the more puffins we saw. Soon, the weather cleared a little, but still gave us mostly bright, diffused light – perfect for bird portraits. They would zip past us in flight and we tried to get them in action, but that was clearly a challenge – we were too close in most instances! A few of us managed to get them in flight, but several of us decided to focus on the ones on the rock and watch their behavior. Like other birds, they would often poop just before they were going to take off – which is pretty funny but it’s true. We could see the body language and after a while could tell when they were about to pop off the rock. I managed just one good image this, and a whole bunch of great portraits of them interacting and sitting around on the rocks. What fun we had!

I made this picture with a Canon EOS 500mm f4 IS lens, on a tripod with a Really Right Stuff Pro 55 Ball head and a Wimberly Side-kick. It helps to have the right gear for a photo like this, but ironically we could have done some of our pictures (and did) with a 100-400mm or 200-400mm lens, just as easily, as in many situations we were able to get pretty close.


Enjoy and thanks for visiting,