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Fulmar in flight

Fulmar in flight
Photo Information
Copyright: Pekka Valo (pekkavalo1) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 423 W: 54 N: 2120] (6789)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-26
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Canon 100-400L 4.5-5.6 IS USM, RAW ISO 400, B+W 77 010 UV-Haze 1 x
Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2008-04-24 4:40
Viewed: 2922
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A (Northern) Fulmar shot at RSPB Bempton Cliffs nature reserve. Fulmars are among the best seabirds in their flying skills. Compared to Seagulls or Gannets they are very difficult to photograph in flight. They fly very fast and constantly change their flying path which is impossible to predict.

It took a long time of practising with very low success rate before I managed get any decent photo. This one is relatively good but the white high-lights are a bit burned.

I later posted a workshop as the bird somehow looked worse when uploaded. I could manage to get bit more details out.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The two Fulmars are closely related seabirds occupying the same niche in different oceans. The Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), or just Fulmar lives in the north Atlantic and north Pacific, whereas the Southern Fulmar (F. glacialoides) is, as its name implies, a bird of the southern oceans. These birds look superficially like gulls, but are unrelated, and are in fact petrels. The northern species is grey and white with a yellow bill, 43-52 cm in length with a 101-117 cm wingspan. The southern form is a paler bird with dark wing tips, 45-50 cm long, with a 115-120 cm wingspan.

Two prehistoric species have been described from fossil bones found on the Pacific coast of California: Fulmarus miocaenus from the Middle and Fulmarus hammeri from the Late Miocene.

Both Recent species breed on cliffs, laying a single white egg. Unlike many small to medium birds in the Procellariiformes they are neither nocturnal breeders, nor do they use burrows;their eggs are laid on the bare rock or in shallow depressions lined with plant material. Nesting birds and chicks can eject an evil smelling stomach oil up to 2 m, which repels unwanted visitors. It will matt the plumage of avian predators, and can lead to their death. Northern Fulmars historically bred on St. Kilda, and spread into northern Scotland in the 19th century, and to the rest of the United Kingdom by 1930. For example, establishment of colonies at the Fowlsheugh Reserve in Scotland was one of the first areas to be developed for new permanent Fulmar breeding areas.

They are highly pelagic outside the breeding season, like most tubenoses, feeding on fish, oil or offal. Recent studies in the North Sea have shown them especially susceptible to plastic discards. The range of these species increased greatly last century due to the availability of fish offal from commercial fleets, but may contract because of less food from this source and climatic change. The population increase has been especially notable in the British Isles.

Like other petrels, their walking ability is limited, but they are strong fliers, with a stiff wing action quite unlike the gulls. They look bull-necked compared to gulls, and have short stubby bills. They are long-lived, with a lifespan of 40 years not uncommon.

Dis. Ac., jaycee, haraprasan, Jamesp, Adanac, SelenE has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Pekka,

good pose from the bird, razor sharp and good pov and dof.
Looks the bird are overexposed in the white feathers.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-04-24 10:07]

Hi Pekka,

What a nice looking bird this Fulmar is. You captured him in flight very nicely. I especially like the wings and tail feathers with the good colors and shadings.


  • Great 
  • thor68 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 795 W: 138 N: 1319] (5674)
  • [2008-04-24 10:15]

ok, as you said, the whites are a little burnt and the focus is a little soft, but the shot still is terrific! :-)
great frozen inflight-action showing us this wonderful bird i have never seen flying in real life.
good job & best wishes, thor.

Hi Pekka,
A nice capture of this flying bird. I know it is not an easy job to capture a bird in flight. So it looks a bit OE in some parts here. But sharpness is very good and a lovely composition with very good timing. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-04-24 13:21]

Hi Pekka

Great action-shot. Good detail - plus the fulmar stands our well from the BG.


  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-04-24 13:40]

Hi Pekka,
very good in-flight shot of this Fulmar! I remember you saying it's hard to get a flying photo of this bird yet you have done very well here! The WS photo is even better!
Excellent sharpness, composition, pose, DOF and BG.
Brilliant work!


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-04-24 16:29]

Hello Pekka,
Superb inflight image of this nice species. I like very much the composition and colors you have captured, thank you.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-04-24 23:38]

Hi Pekka,
I have to agree with you about the over exposed whites. But still the bird is very beautiful, and you took a nice in-flight with a great POV and background. TFS
Best wishes,

great capture - we all struggle with over exposure on white birds especially in flight!
good composition and a really dramatic shot - well done!

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