I know, I know. The Internet seems swamped these days with more images than ever of this charismatic little fella. But who can blame a photographer for wanting to photograph them?! They are extremely numerous and very approachable. Getting something different then, becomes increasingly difficult.
I have recently been accepted by a second picture library (I have been with my other, FLPA, for 10 years now) called Wildlife GmbH, in Germany and as a result, I am in the process of submitting material to them, one of which is of this puffin in flight.
Taken on Skomer a few years ago, I stayed for a couple of nights to photograph these and manx shearwaters. Manx shearwaters are incredible birds spending most of it’s life at sea, only returning to land at night to feed it’s young. Why at night? In nutshell, they are are very clumsy on land due to their legs being set far back towards their tale and so if they were to come ashore during the day, they would end up as dinner to gulls and the like. Anyway, back to the puffin. On my second day, fog rolled in along with strong winds. I fitted my flash-unit to attempt the flash-and-blur technique. If you pull it off it can be quite effective with the resulting image exhibiting both sharp and blurred elements giving the impression of movement. It’s relatively simple to do too. Select a slow shutter speed of say 1/30th sec. and your TTL flash-unit to -1. With the flash unit set to minus one stop the effect will be subtle though evident. Experimentation is the key here as the speed of the subject, it’s direction and distance will determine both shutter speed and flash output.
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About Robert Canis
Robert Canis is a professional photographer specialising in the natural world.
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