Marbled Godwit Blur

Marbled Godwit in flightMarbled Godwit in flight – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/640, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

The day after Christmas I posted a Barn Owl image where the wings of the owl were blurred due to low light combined with a slow shutter speed and mentioned at the end of that post that the Barn Owl blur was a “happy accident”.

This morning I wanted to share another “happy accident” of this Marbled Godwit blur in flight taken along the Gulf of Mexico in coastal Florida. Unlike the Barn Owl image where I had low light and foggy conditions whereas for the Marbled Godwit I had “sweet light” as I photographed the shorebird foraging along the water’s edge though because the bird was close I had changed my aperture to f7.1 to get enough sharpness and I had decreased my ISO to 160 to capture as much feather detail as possible.

What I didn’t see outside of my viewfinder was a couple of beach walkers approaching myself and the Marbled Godwit who instead of walking around the photographer laying in the sand with a big lens pointed at the bird decided to walk close enough to the godwit that they flushed my subject. I only had a split second after I realized the bird was going to take flight which didn’t allow me enough time to increase my ISO which would have also increased my shutter speed that would have frozen the wing action. Typically with birds in flight I prefer to have my shutter speed at 1/1500 or above but in this case I only had 1/640.

Still, I like how the head, bill, and eyes are sharp in this Marbled Godwit image and had an appealing blur of the wings. The Marbled Godwit’s wing position is similar to the wing position of my Barn Owl too. The Godwit in good light, the Barn Owl in low light and both with slow shutters speeds and a pleasing blur.

Yes, another “happy accident”.


See a neat Burrowing Owl Blur here

Additional posts you might enjoy:

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. Since most birds don’t sit still and pose for me, I like these action photos to help me in I.D.-ing them.

  2. Very nicely done, Mia. You sure got a lot out of that park.

  3. The blur shows movement and really enhances the photograph. Lovely capture, Mia!

  4. I love it. And love the way its head seems to be ‘nestled into’ the safety of those wings.

  5. Wonderful contrast….Love detail of head VS slight blur of wings…gives a nice sense of motion…

  6. Super cool. Blur yes, but crystal clear face.

    Kind of amazing how unaware (or unconcerned??) some people are re: not disturbing wildlife and/or photographer trying to photograph said (undisturbed) wildlife. Glad YOU are so very aware. =) xo

  7. Beautiful Godwit, absolutely superb Mia.

  8. It made for a beautiful catch!!

  9. Another terrific capture Mia Glen

  10. Mia I love it!!!!! The blur adds a wonderful sense of movement. I know you’d prefer a crisp image throughout, but this is truly lovely … I can hear the flutter of the wings!!! Great colors and love the hint of wave action in the background as well!!!!!

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