Theropod Thursday 24: More gull ACM

As mentioned yesterday, the currently silence at dinosaurpalaeo is caused by a work trip after EAVP an a holiday at the Baltic Sea. A few days ago I there had the chance to get some more nice photos of gulls – this time without the benefit of someone feeding them.

As I explained, photographing birds on the wing is hard. There are a number of excellent tips to be found in these two posts at the very recommendable PHOTONATURALIST blog (link). And do check out how to make your camera shoot faster. Still, if you do not have a top-of-the-line “professional” DSLR, it is very hard. Or, you have to be lucky. On Monday I was lucky:

A Common gull (Larus canus) was trying to get at some food on the beach and was set upon by two Black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus). One of them kept bothering the Common gull until an aerial pursuit ensued, which I managed to capture.

As you can see the larger and stronger gull did not manage to get the upper hand!


Up to this point the bothered Common gull tried to stay close to the food source, but now it decided to run for a quieter place. Cawing like crazy, with the Black-head in hot pursuit, it aimed for the spur dike, and settled there.

Not that it was able to have a rest there: the Black-head started StuKa-style attacks, and the Common gull slunk off to the open sea after a few of them. By then, however, I was handling some 20 lbs of wrestling, sun-screen-sticky human complaining loudly that the sand didn’t taste too well, and was unable to take more photos.


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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
This entry was posted in Aves, Dinopics, Dinosauria, Maniraptora, Theropoda, Travels. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Theropod Thursday 24: More gull ACM

  1. himmapaan says:

    Fantastic capture.

  2. steve cohen says:

    Nice images; were you shooting in burst mode?

    If so, what was the fps rating of your camera/memory card?

    Were you panning? How fast was the shutter speed?

    I always have trouble getting sharp, well-composed images of moving animals/birds and you seem to have mastered the techniques.

    • That’s obviously “sports” mode: JPEG only, rapid AF, etc. ISO 400, f varying between 6.3 and 8.0, exposure between 1/1600 and 1/400 s, and as I own a “superzoom” (28-200 mm) that varied between 59 and 200, too.

      The trick here was being lucky: the gulls were coming at me (easy focus and tracking), the predictably veered right (again, easy AF and tracking). It does help to set AF to the centre spot only, and to train tracking. Also, these were not shot as a burst, I pressed the trigger deliberately, thus avoiding AF issues: I made sure I was tracking true when I took a shot.

      • steve cohen says:

        Thanks for the details.
        “I own a “superzoom” (28-200 mm)”
        I have a similar lens (Nikon) and absolutely love it. Although it is slow (3.5-5.6) by playing with the ISO and post-processing to fixture exposures, I find I use it 75% of the time.

  3. Pingback: Tierpark hummingbird revisited | dinosaurpalaeo

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