Brown Pelicans flying into the sunset and floating on the Gulf of Mexico

Brown Pelican flying into the sunsetBrown Pelican flying into the sunset – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I worked up two older Brown Pelican images to share this morning taken at Fort De Soto in 2009 and 2008. I was photographing birds late one evening at the north beach when I spotted a lone Brown Pelican heading from the shore towards Egmont Key just as the sun was setting. I don’t normally care for silhouettes but I took the shot any way and really enjoyed how it came out.

I use this image to remind myself that even though I might not think the lighting conditions are the best it is some times worth ignoring the rules, testing my skills and experimenting to create visually appealing and unique images.

Elegant Brown Pelican in breeding plumageElegant Brown Pelican in breeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This Brown Pelican image is well exposed because I had good light when I created it and it is visually appealing yet it does not have the drama of the sunset image. That said, I enjoy both of these images for what they are and there is room in my portfolio for both styles. I need to step outside my comfort zone more often.

Life is good.


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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 like them both too and try to avoid silhouettes also, but this is superb. And wonderful detail in the second image of these unusual birds is also pleasing I agree.

  2. Pelicans look so aeorodynamically ‘unsound’ don’t they. And succeed just the same.
    Love both images, for different reasons. The first is somehow more evocative for me.

  3. Both pictures are beautiful! Thanks :)

  4. I like your comments that you make about your own work and this silhouette because the are so calming and the pelican still has some detail. The blue tones in the second are lovely, is it a young male?

  5. The. First is a beauty…the second, “Essence of Brown Pelican”…. I can see why you like them both…so do I….

  6. oh wow … both are so beautiful!!!

  7. Your “experiments” always turn out so AMAZING! ;)

  8. I particularly enjoy taking photos in unusual lighting situations just because you’re never positive what will result. Lovely images, particularly the sunset one!

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