Sleeping juvenile Sanderling – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm at 400mm, natural light
Having eye contact with my subject is usually very important to me as a bird photographer because it establishes a connection between people and the birds in my images but there are times when I feel photos work even without showing the eye.
I remember when I took the photo of this sleeping juvenile Sanderling quite well, it was a September morning at Fort De Soto’s north beach, there was a cool breeze coming off of the Gulf of Mexico and there were at least 50 small shorebirds on or near the wrack line. There were Snowy Plovers, Sanderlings, Semipalmated Plovers and Wilson’s Plovers resting, preening and warming up as the sun rose.
I laid down on the sand and slowly belly-crawled closer to the birds one inch at a time until I was in range to photograph the group of shorebirds. While I photographed the shorebirds I stayed very still and so my presence wouldn’t disturb them, it was one of those mornings when I practically had the beach to myself and no one disturbed the birds or me for almost 40 minutes.
When I look at this photo of the juvenile Sanderling I see a bird that was so relaxed that it fell asleep while I photographed it because it was comfortable with my presence and I felt honored that it was.
When finished photographing the shorebirds I backed away as slowly as I approached them so I wouldn’t bother them when I left and headed out to look for more birds to photograph.
Life is good.
Photo taken in 2008