Ring-billed Gulls in Flight in Varying Light

Ring-billed Gull in flight against a cloudy skyRing-billed Gull in flight against a cloudy sky – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +1.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Ring-billed Gulls are quite common during the winter here in northern Utah and they can be found where there is open water nearby where they can find food. Over the past two weeks I have been able to photograph several Ring-billed Gulls in flight in varying light and like the way they turned out. All of the images were taken at Farmington Bay WMA.

This first Ring-billed Gull in flight image was taken in less than optimal light with a cloudy sky in the background. Even though the sky is gray the gull still stands out well, I have nice eye contact and details in the plumage.

Ring-billed Gull flying in a partly cloudy skyRing-billed Gull flying in a partly cloudy sky – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/8000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The light was somewhat better when I photographed this Ring-billed Gull against a partly cloudy sky a few day after I photographed the gull above. There is a bit more warmth to this image because of the sunlight and the partly cloudy sky in the background adds interest that wouldn’t be there if the sky were plain gray or clear blue.

Ring-billed Gull in flight with clear skyRing-billed Gull in flight with clear sky – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/4000, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

A few seconds later the same gull flew into an area where the sky behind it was a a clear, soft blue. This image doesn’t have as much interest in the background because the sky is featureless but the gull does stand out extremely well.

I like all of the Ring-billed Gull in flight images and appreciate the different backgrounds in each one. I remember when I first started photographing birds that I practiced flight shots with gulls in all kinds of light because they were easy to find and seem to be on the wing quite often.

Ring-billed Gull adult at Farmington BayRing-billed Gull adult at Farmington Bay – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This Ring-billed Gull wasn’t in flight but I liked the the serious look it appeared to be giving me while afloat on the icy blue water. It had been trying to steal fish from the Pied-billed Grebes nearby and failed several times, maybe it was just a grumpy look.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover December 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    What a beautiful series! Another example of your outstanding work with a camera.

  2. Elephant's Child December 23, 2015 at 11:28 am


  3. Patty Chadwick December 23, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Beautiful bird! When my youngest sister-in-law died, we had a family get together at a place near the Portland Light, a place she liked to go, a beautiful place not far from where she lived. She was a quiet, gentle person, who had become a “state child” when her father died and her mother was left with 8 children she couldn’t care for. All were fostered out to work on farms…a hard, harsh life . While we were we were sitting there sharing memories of her, a pure white gull flew in and just hung around until we left. It never begged for food…just sat on the rocks and watched us. I pointed it out to others, but no one seemed as interested in it as I was. Although I’ve probably seen thousands of gulls, I’ve never seen a pure white one before or since….there were absolutely no markings on it.

    • Elephant's Child December 23, 2015 at 11:29 am

      I suspect that your observant eyes and nature got comfort from that white gull..

  4. Drew C December 23, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Very nice shots! I really like the first one.

Comments are closed.