Laughing Gull – Small in the Frame

Nonbreeding Laughing GullNonbreeding Laughing Gull – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 320, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

On occasion I like to take images where the subject; in my case it is usually birds, is small in the frame instead of nearly filling it when the background habitat is as visually interesting as the main subject itself.

On the day that I photographed this Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) either Hurricane Ike or Gustav was out near the center of the Gulf of Mexico that was churning up the water and sending large waves towards the shorelines of west-central Florida. These were Atlantic coast sized waves not the smaller, more gentle ones we were used to on the Gulf coast.

When I saw the gull standing on a shelf of sand just above the shoreline with the crashing waves behind it I liked the contrast of the calm look of the water where the bird was compared to the tumultuous waves in the background and the varied shades of blue so I backed up to allow more of the water to be visible in my viewfinder.

I like the resulting image a lot.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. I love it too, you pulled these two elements together beautifully Mia.

  2. It’s a fantastic image,I love the abrupt change from the still foreground to a turbulent background

  3. You’d never know a hurricane was churning out there. Beautiful. Carol

  4. I love images with the ocean’s surf in the background. At first I thought this was like a mist. Then I looked closer and saw they were waves, as you say, larger ones than the usual for the Gulf coast. I love the mood on this one.

  5. I like the resulting image, too, Mia.

  6. Very nice capture Mia

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