Sidelit Piping Plover

/, Florida, Low angle, Piping Plovers/Sidelit Piping Plover

I was photographing one evening in Florida while laying in the mudflat of a tidal lagoon, there were Dunlins, Black-bellied Plovers and Greater Yellowlegs in front of me where the evening light was great.

Sidelit Piping PloverSidelit Piping Plover – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Out of the corner of my eye I caught a bit of movement and turned my head towards what I could see was a Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) looking for prey in the mudflats. The light was not what most photographers would call “great“, the plover was below a dune and the angle of the sun in the west caused the bird to be sidelit.

Some photographers would pass on the shot because of the “tough”, “harsh” or “contrasty” light, but I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Even though the sun wasn’t behind my shoulder and the light wasn’t golden this image has a great mood to it. I know I could have used flash to brighten up the bird and the setting but if I had it certainly would not be this moody, besides; I very rarely use flash.

This Piping Plover image reminds me to try to photograph birds in other than perfect light. Sidelit and backlit images can be spectacular so I don’t like passing up taking the chance that I might just get a great shot despite what some photographers think of as bad light.


*I pre-scheduled this post because I am away, please feel free to share this with your friends & family!


  1. bill senske May 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Pretty picture.

  2. Bob Zeller May 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    You’re amazing, Mia. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Aww shucks Bob, you are going to make me blush! Thank you.

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