Intense Impact

I photographed this Tern (a Caspian I think, due to its red bill) and many others yesterday morning, practicing some slow shutter panning shots.
This image caught my attention due to the sense of violent impact that the spray and position of the bird gave me. It made me think that their necks must be very, very strong to withstand the impact. They are flying maybe 5, 10, 15 (?) miles per hour when they hit the water.
I decided to have some fun and really amp up the saturation of the reflected colors in the water. Visual impact to match the physical impact!

Specific Feedback Requested

anything that comes up for you!

Technical Details

Nikon Z9 (rented), 500mm f/5.6 pf lens at f/13, 1/200 second, ISO 450


I love this image Mark. You have dialed this technique in really well over the past couple of years. The saturation works for me. Love the position of the bird with the beak in the water doing a beak cleaning. The spray coming off the beak and traveling underneath the bird and out the back in superb. I also love the transition from Green to blue to yellow and then orange in the water. Was this Bolsa Chica? Well done. Would love to shoot with you soon.

Hi Mark
We work so hard to get every shot tack sharp, correct color levels and not a blur detail in our photograph and then you go and break all the rules and give us this fantastic photograph. I love the fact, that every time I come to this network, there is someone showing be how to take a better photograph.

Excellent, Mark. That’s a technique I really want to work on and you demonstrate it beautifully. I do think you could take a touch off the left and add a corresponding bit on the right, but that’s a very minor quibble.

Thank you David, Peter, and Dennis for your very kind words!
@David_Haynes, it’s nice to hear that you see progress in what I’m doing! That’s hard for me to see so I appreciate your thoughts. This was taken at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. And yes, let’s get together!!
@peter , you’re thoughts are very kind. Sometimes breaking the rules work, and I thought this might be one of them. I’m generally not a rule breaker, and it took a lot for me to post this, knowing the really great work I see from you and others. Thank you for generosity. Yes, this is a wonderful community.
@Dennis_Plank, It seems easier for me when using a tripod for slow shutter speed panning, but not a requirement. My suggestion is to start at faster speeds and work to slower speeds. I took several of these birds at f/1000 then moved to f/500 and this was at f/200. My attempts at f/160 verged in abstract art! Bigger, slower birds allow even slower shutter speeds as I’m sure you know. I feel like I’m practicing all the time!

Really love this, Mark! It’s very abstract looking!

Absolutely nailed! Ramping up the saturation has worked a treat with this image. Something I’m not inclined to do, but in doing so, it’s ramped up the impact.

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Hey Mark,
It. May be too hot but I may go shoot tomorrow aftwrnoon/evening if you’re up for it.
Are the terns and the skimmers still at San Joaquin? Let me know your thoughts. I’d certainly understand if you can’t make it with this heat we are having.

David Haynes
Superior Foods
Office: 909-596-6380

@Keith_Bauer , thanks very much for the EP!

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Outstanding action image! The colors of the water work well with the motion displayed by the moving Tern. Well composed and well-deserved of your EP.

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This is a very cool photo and I love the panning. It makes it a very exciting shot. I think I agree with @Dennis_Plank that if you have a little space on the right add it and take some off the left. Very well done!

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