Regular readers will know that I enjoy and often photograph brown pelicans. They are not a rare bird around this part of Florida at all. In fact, it would be rare to go to any coastal area of St. Petersburg and not see one. However, I find myself continually drawn to photographing them despite my usual instinct being to not photograph things that are commonly photographed. Plus, I have a bit of unfinished business as I still want to photograph a pelican in flight hovering just over the surface of the water as they are apt to do. Catching one in flight like above requires seeing the bird approach from distance, tracking it as it swoops in, then of course have sufficient shutter speed to freeze it in mid-air. Maybe some luck is required too?
I used my Nikkor AF-S 105mm VR micro f/2.8G lens for all these shots. It is not a very long lens but The Pier provides a very close vantage point for photographing pelicans as they fly, hunt and sleep. To photograph these three different female brown pelicans I observed and studied their behavior. Of course the sleeping one was not a challenge, but the flying one took a sharp eye to find and photograph and I needed to follow the hunting pelican from pier top to pier top until I could catch her while still standing at the ready.
As these photographs illustrate, brown pelicans do not all exhibit the same behavior at the same time of day. Some flew, some hunted and many slept. One day, I will photograph one of you skimming over the water's surface! Until then, expect more pelican photographs of another nature.
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