Saturday, November 07, 2009

Seeing Purple

A recent trip to the local shore found me looking on the rocks, that make up the sea defences, for roosting waders. It was a big tide which forces the birds up the rocks and closer to the camera. The sun shone but there was a near gale blowing onshore making holding the camera steady tricky and causing lots of airborne sea spray. Saltwater and electronics are a bad mix and if you are ever out in these conditions it pays to give the camera and lens a good clean on returning home.

As I looked out upon the waders the first that caught my eye were two redshank braced against the wind.
As I was looking through the groups of turnstones I started spotting purple sandpiper which I was not expecting as they usually appear a little later in the year. There were seven birds present so I spent the rest of the short session concentrating on them. These birds are well adapted to walking around over rocky habitat and seem quite comfortable perched on near vertical sides of rocks.

The name Purple sandpiper appears a bit misleading when you see these birds for the first time but with a bit of sunshine on the back feathers and all is revealed.

They are wonderful little birds and always a joy to photograph.


My favourite photo of the session is the last of this post. I love the mood and tranquility of this photo. The birds spend a great deal of time with the heads tucked over their backs in the roost position. I was trying to find an interesting photo of them in the roost position and noticed this bird standing in the shadow of the rocks and spotlighted by the sun appearing through a crack in the boulders.


Pescalune said...

Wow ! All of them are awsome !!
But yes I agree with you ... the last one is very tender and quiet - I love it !

Carol Mattingly said...

Love the last photo too. Absolutely great. Carol

Bob Bushell said...

Those are fantastic images.

holdingmoments said...

These shots really are in a league of their own Richard.
The last one has a magical quality about it. Perfect light.

Dominic Gendron said...

The atmosphere in the last one is unique! great serie :)

Peregrine's Bird Blog said...

Ive mentioned the last one elsewhere but love the Redshank. Im assuming you are using a better beamer?

Rich Steel said...

Thanks for the comments.

Craig no Better Beamer or flash was used on these photos, all birds were photographed using natural light. I only used flash once on birds and was not happy with their response.



Peregrine's Bird Blog said...


It must have been one of those amazingly bright afternoons when you have to underexpose to a high degree. Sadly they dont come around that often here in NI !!


Steve Race said...

Hi Rich

Awesome images as always Mr Steel. I have a local roost of Purps near where I live and will try to capture some activity soon I hope.

Rich a couple of questions for you:
1. How do you protect your images on your blog, I notice when you right click you can't save them etc. I really need to have this option on my blog.
2. How do you upload your images to the large size that you are showing?

Sorry to ask these questions in a comment but could not find your email address. If you don't mind responding to my questions please would you reply to -

Many thanks

mergullador said...

Dear Rich,

I am a fascinated supporter of your photos but I think that there is a little problem in your blog: Not-english people don't understand the english names of the birds. I would appreciate that you include the scientific names. I think that it would raise the international level of the blog. Amazing photos at all

Linda Yarrow said...

I love the last picture also, the capture is lovely:-)

Angad Achappa said...

Lovely images.. :) Nice series.

Rich Steel said...

Thanks for your comments. Appreciated as always :)




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