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