Four Intimate Gull Portraits

Laughing Gull portraitLaughing Gull portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I like gulls. I especially like being able to see them up close when the opportunities arise and will take advantage of my close proximity by taking portraits of these beautiful but often disliked birds.

This Laughing Gull was photographed in Florida several years ago on a day when I was shooting with two wonderful friends who were also photographers. The Laughing Gull was in its finest breeding plumage and was standing on the sand near the Gulf of Mexico.

Herring Gull PortraitHerring Gull Portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This Herring Gull was photographed at Fort De Soto County Park in Florida as it rested near a quiet tidal lagoon. I wanted to try for something a little different than a normal portrait when I took this image. I hope it worked. Granted the bill isn’t showing but I love how the eye of this Herring Gull stands out so well.

Ring-billed Gull portraitRing-billed Gull portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I was in the water when I photographed this Ring-billed Gull’s portrait in Florida, the warm Gulf waters felt great on my skin as I inched closer to the gull. I was able to get the portrait images I wanted and slowly backed away from the gull without disturbing it.

California Gull PortraitCalifornia Gull Portrait – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

What can I tell you about this portrait of a California Gull here in Utah? I love the breeding plumage and the clear white head California Gulls have during the breeding season, the dark eyes and the colorful bills. I also like the smooth background which is actually a rocky hillside.

Does this California Gull image look like it was taken while it was perched on a trash bin at Antelope Island State Park? Well, it was. Yeah, I know, people think of them as trash birds. But this isn’t a trashy picture. ;-)


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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. Wonderful portraits of beautiful bids…especially like the second….

  2. Exceptional! That second shot is actually the one I like best – it has an ethereal quality to it.

  3. glorious .. you always catch the light just right … wonderful captures of their beautiful eyes!!!

  4. A challenging group to ID and one of my favorites. Great portraits showing gulls at their finest.

  5. You have given me such an appreciation of gulls. Great shots and thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Four excellent portraits, Mia! I am especially taken with the pure white feathers of the California Gull.

  7. LOVE the shot of the Herring Gull!

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