Ring-billed Gull

Evening Takeoff

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A ring-billed gull takes off from the surface of the water. While ring-billed gulls are not usually seen as particularly glamorous, there are two reasons this is one my favorite images of 2023. First, this image was fairly difficult to capture given that it was taken from a kayak. I purchased an oragami kayak a couple years, and this was the first time I felt comfortable enough to take my camera with my while kayaking. Being on the kayak allowed me to both get closer and to get a lower angle to this bird than I otherwise would have been able to. Second, the lighting worked out really well here. The evening light was shining directly on this gull, which typically would result in an overexposure of the bright white gull. But using manual mode, I was able to dampen the exposure to the point where the bird was properly exposed while the rest of the images fades to nearly black, with only a faint hint of the grasses and trees in the distance. I really like the dramatic flair this gives to the image and I will use it whenever possible.

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Mike Warner

A foldable kayak? Wow, that takes guts to get into one of those things with a camera. Glad you did, though because the shot of the Ring-billed is certainly worth it. Excellent shot!