Piping Plover and Semipalmated Plover – Sunday Shorebirds

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Low angle, Pinellas County, Piping Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers/Piping Plover and Semipalmated Plover – Sunday Shorebirds

When I am out in the field I take a large amount of photos and there are times I don’t get around to processing them until much later, these are two such images taken at Fort DeSoto, Florida in 2008.

Semipalmated Plover in the sand Semipalmated Plover in the sand –  Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/800, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I wish I could get caught up on my post processing and editing but I won’t hold my breath about that. These two files have been languishing in their folders for over 3 years.

While I lived in Florida I very rarely took my 200-400mm VR lens to the beaches with me, I very clearly remember laying down on the sand to get eye level with these birds all the while worrying about what the sand could do to moving parts of my lens. I placed both elbows on the sand and used my left hand to brace the lens from underneath while I used my right to operate the camera, I think getting up was the most difficult part because I didn’t want to put my hands in the sand.

Mia at Fort De Soto Me on the beach of Fort De Soto getting images of the shorebirds on this post
©Al Wallace

My friend & fellow photographer Al Wallace who had walked up and taken a few pictures of yours truly (without me being aware) probably had a good laugh watching me get up from the gritty sugar sand. That’s ok, I can laugh at myself and the weird positions I get in to get images of my subjects.

That is a floor buffing pad in front of me, I’ll never know how that ended up on the beach.

*Be careful; you never know when your sneaky but wonderful photographer friends are photographing you while are so focused on your subject that you are totally unaware of what they are doing! And yes, I look pretty goofy in this photo.

Piping Plover on a sandy beachPiping Plover on a sandy beach –  Nikon d200, handheld, f5.6, 1/750, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

By getting down to eye level with our feathered subjects the viewers often feel like they are part of the bird’s world, I know I do when I view images taken from low angles. I was almost too low for these pictures.

Sand, water, ice or snow can light up the bottom of your subjects because of the light being reflected upwards, Fort De Soto’s sugar sand is great at that.

So there you have it, a Piping Plover and Semipalmated Plover – my Sunday Shorebirds



  1. Skip Harris December 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Well its Friday and I have chores this morning so I cannot go out and shoot so the next best thing to do is visit Mia’s Blog. I always try to visit sometime each Friday. You make my week. I am glad Al captured the image of you. A friend and I are going to New Mexico the second week of January and I am excited. I know it may be a bit late in the season, but that was the only time we could go. My first long trip for a shoot. Hopefully I can remember all that you have taught me.


    • Mia McPherson December 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      Skip, your comments always make me smile, this one did especially. Al was sneaky getting that image of me, I didn’t know he was there until he spoke to me.

      I hope that you have an awesome time in New Mexico with your friend and I am sure you will do just fine, you are a smart cookie!

  2. Julie Brown December 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Adorable little birds, aren’t they? Getting low is certainly worth it, and the infamous sugar sand makes a pleasing blurred foreground.

    • Mia McPherson December 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Julie, they really are adorable little peeps. Got to love that sugar sand in the fore and backgrounds!

  3. Bob Zeller December 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Great photos and a great description of your experiences. I love reading these kind of post from you. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson December 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      Thank you Bob, I always appreciate your comments!

  4. Dan Huber December 5, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Fantastic photos Mia. Getting down to their level really seems to improve the photo. i will have to try that more.

  5. Chuck Gangas December 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I admire your craftsmanship Mia, your ability to get so close to these small birds is nothing short of amazing.

    • Mia McPherson December 6, 2011 at 7:43 am

      Thanks Chuck, it always fills me with a sense of wonder when birds like these are so accepting of my presence, even more so when they move closer to me.

  6. Laurence B December 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Great photos. We (if I may briefly speak for the viewing audience) certainly do appreciate your willingness to get sandy, muddy, gnat-bitten, etc. I like how, given the perspective, the sugar sand is both in the foreground and composes nearly the entirety of the background. It gives me the impression that I am on a desert island with absolutely nothing but the Plover for company. However, seeing as the Plover is so adorable and presented so well, I’m not too sad about this fate.

    • Mia McPherson December 6, 2011 at 7:42 am

      Laurence, thank you so much for your comments on this post. I loved how you described that you got the impression of being on a desert island with the plover, it does sort of feel that way!

Comments are closed.