Black Headed Gull taking off

I took this a couple of weeks ago, at Rye Harbour nature reserve in Sussex, UK. There are many Black Gulls about in the reserve, so zeroing in on one can be quite challenging. The aim with this shot was to capture a gull taking off and highlight some of the detail in these magnificent birds. I used a Nikon Z6 and Sigma 150-600mm at 600mm, 1/2000s at f/6.3. Taken handheld from a hide.

Pleasant light and color. Exposure is good. I think your focus point was more on the back plumage as the head is slightly soft. If it were mine, I would give it a little more space on the right side of the bird to fly into.

Simon, @David_Schoen has mentioned about the back focus, I just want to add that I think the image itself is very pleasing. Especially with those red feet. You have handled the whites very well!

Nice wing position and the head turn works, Simon. Unfortunately, it looks as if the AF caught the tail of the gull and the head is a bit soft. You don’t mention the iso you were using, but if it wasn’t already too high, I think a boost there and stopping down a touch would have helped with that issue. The shutter speed you used certainly looks adequate for a gull. I use the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary with a Canon, and I’ve found it just slightly soft at f/6.3 and 600mm, so I usually shoot at f/7.7-8.0.