Ring-billed Gull in flightRing-billed Gull in flight – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 270mm, natural light, not baited

It seems that more than a few bird photographers avoid taking images of gulls perhaps in part because they are common in so many locations or because gulls are associated with trash but I enjoy taking images of gulls especially if they are in flight or in a great setting. For new photographers who want to work on flight photography gulls make excellent subjects to practice on.

In most areas of North America Ring-billed Gulls are the most commonly seen gull and not only are they beautiful they are also fun and challenging to photograph. The day I photographed this Ring-billed Gull at Fort De Soto’s north beach there were baitfish in the hundreds of thousands running just off shore and pelicans, egrets, terns and gulls were all in a feeding frenzy. Most of the images I took that day had water or sky in the background but when this Ring-billed Gull flew into the beach to land it had dark trees in the background. The light gull against the dark background was and still is very appealing to me and I also enjoy the wing position, flared tail and head angle.

Common? Maybe. I knew as soon as I saw this through my viewfinder I was going to love the image. I wasn’t wrong.