Portraits of Ring-billed Gulls in a Snow Storm

/, Ring-billed Gulls, Salt Lake County, Utah/Portraits of Ring-billed Gulls in a Snow Storm

Snow falling on a Ring-billed GullSnow falling on a Ring-billed Gull- Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 1000, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Ten days ago I spent 40 minutes photographing gulls, ducks and geese in a snow storm at a pond near where I live and had fun while I was doing it. The snowflakes landed on my face, hands and a few even landed on my eyelashes which made it hard to see at times as the snow blew in through the open window. The neoprene coat on my lens got wet, my camera body got damp and I think it was a good thing I had a paper towel to soak up the snow that melted on my gear. My polar fleece jacket was soaked and my jeans were too from sitting with the window open for 40 minutes, thankfully my fleece under layers kept me warm the whole time.

There were big, clumpy, wet fluffy snowflakes falling which is what I had hoped for because they show up better in images than smaller flakes do. I thought the image above was interesting because one of those large clumps of stuck-together snowflakes landed on this Ring-billed Gull’s head then it bounced up and crumbled and I was able to capture the snowflakes breaking apart in this close up.

Snowy Ring-billed Gull portraitSnowy Ring-billed Gull portrait- Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 1000, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

People call gulls “garbage birds” and “flying rats” but I have never been able to wrap my head around their reasons for not liking them and I sure can’t understand why people would hate them. They are beautiful whether they are photographed under bright sunny skies, on a sandy beach, in a foggy lagoon or in the midst of a snow storm.

I’m glad I took these portraits of Ring-billed Gulls in a snow storm, they will remind me of a gray, cold, stormy January day when I was just crazy enough to sit and photograph birds as snowflakes fell from the sky.

Life is good.



  1. Humming bird lover February 1, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Hi! Great shooting! They really stand out against the snow! Hope you have a special day Photograpying! Love ya mom

  2. David January 31, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Beautiful images of these lovely birds, Mia. We often seem to describe any wildlife that has the audacity to survive alongside us, in urban environments, rats with _ _ _ _ _ (fill in the blanks depending on the creature). These images would look awesome hanging on a seaside cafe wall.

  3. Bob McPherson January 31, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Cool is as Cool Does, Mia. You are the coolest.

  4. Patty Chadwick January 31, 2017 at 9:21 am

    A BEAUTIFUL portrait of a beautiful bird!!! Makes me think of how beautiful a milling flock of them looks–backlit, the sun shining through their wings, making their feathers glow… almost luminous. I always love that sight! They are so smart and inventivd, it’s always fun to watch them! Those that hate them probably vote for inappropriate presidents cabinet heads, too…career haters…a pox on them all!

  5. Allen Boynton January 31, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I am with you on not understanding the negative reaction of many to these birds. They are investing and beautiful creatures, particularly during the breeding season which is well soon be here!

  6. Liz Cormack January 31, 2017 at 7:50 am

    I didn’t know that Ring-bills could look so good! Great photos. I love how you captured the snow even.

  7. Wickersham's Conscience January 31, 2017 at 6:53 am

    They are a tough, highly adaptable species and have my admiration. They also use cooperative strategies to del with the cold: there’s a colony that huddles together at night for warmth out on the frozen center of Quinn’s Pond here in Boise.

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