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Wandering Albatross

Wandering Albatross
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 70-200 f 2.8 L USM
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-01-23 9:03
Viewed: 15249
Points: 44
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
People associate Kiakoura with Sperm Whales, New Zealand Fur Seals and Dolphins (Dusky and Hector's), but it is also a great location for spotting pelagic seabirds. I have been on this trip 3 times now and find it amazing each time. Strangely on each occasion we have been the only people on the trip. On this occasion we saw 4 albatross species, plus Giant Petrols and various smaller petrols.

The only problem I have with this shot is that it is difficult to see just how huge this bird is.

The Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans), is a large seabird from the family Diomedeidae which has a circumpolar range in the Southern Ocean. It was the first species of albatross to be described, and was long considered the same species as the Tristan Albatross and the Antipodean Albatross (in fact a few authors still consider them all subspecies of the same species). Together with the Amsterdam Albatross it forms the Wandering Albatross species complex. The Wandering is the largest member of the genus Diomedea (the great albatrosses), and is one of the best known and studied species of bird in the world.

The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, with the average wingspan being 3.1 metres (10.2 ft). The longest-winged examples verified have been about 3.7 m (12 ft), but probably erroneous reports of as much as 5.3 m (17.5 ft) are known. As a result of its wingspan, it is capable of remaining in the air without beating its wings for several hours at a time (travelling 22 metres for every metre of drop). The length of the body is about 1.35 m (4.4 ft) with females being slightly smaller than males, and they weigh typically from 6 to 12 kg (13-26 lb). Immature birds have been recorded weighing as much as 16.1 kg (35 lb) during their first flights. The plumage varies with age, but adults have white bodies with black and white wings. Males have whiter wings than females with just the tips and trailing edges of the wings black. They also show a faint peach spot on the side of the head. The Wandering Albatross is the whitest of the Wandering Albatross species complex, the other species having a great deal more brown and black on the wings and body as breeding adults, very closely resembling immature Wandering Albatrosses. The large bill is pink, as are the feet.

They feed on squid, small fish and on animal refuse that floats on the sea, eating to such excess at times that they are unable to fly and rest helplessly on the water.

They lay one egg: it is white, with a few spots, and is about 10 centimetres (4 in) long. At breeding time they occupy loose colonies on isolated island groups in the Southern Ocean, such as Crozet Islands, South Georgia, Campbell Island, New Zealand, Auckland Islands, Marion Island, Prince Edward Island, Kerguelen and Macquarie Island. Their nests are large cones built of vegetation that are 1 metre wide at the base and half a metre wide at the apex.

Hand held in a rocky boat.

rousettus, earthtraveler, mariki, Argus, cataclysta, eqshannon, Adanac, nglen, SelenE, gelarsen, ramthakur, uleko, marhowie, haraprasan, angybone, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello James,
I'd like to be your position. I am also trip often and I saw many places up to now. But yours different and all over the world.
As for your great capture. Albatros very lovely. Its shot is great with very nice details, sharpness, POV and composition. Lighting and colors very nice. You also present white parts very well. Your original notes always nice and informative. TFS, well done

Hi James, This is a large bird and according to your stats similar to Trumpeter Swan size. Nice shot. The colorations of the breast and shoulders are quite unusual. Good note also.
TFS, Richard

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2008-01-23 9:19]

hi James,
beautifull composed picture.xcellent details,nice pov,

Hello James,

Very nice picture of this albatros. Good POV and focus. Beautiful ligth and natural colours.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-01-23 10:04]

Hello James,
When we were in Sydney I booked a boat trip to see humpbacks and albatrosses but we had to turn back because of heavy seas. So I missed my only chance to see and photograph an albatross and I have to console myself with shots such as this, a fine sharp capture of the Wandering Albatross, with fine light management.
Thanks for sharing this one,

Hi James
Albatroses are fantastic especially in flight. Nice sharp image. Maye you could crop it a little bit more from the bottom to improve the composition
Best ishes

I love the Monty Python skit..one of my favorites of that genre'...and I can see why...It has the nose for a character part...wonderful capture...oh and my second favorite is the lupines show..I love Monty Python...

Hello James
The Albatross is indeed a magnificent bird and one that is humbling in its size and beautiful flight...I have never been been lucky enough to see one but its on my list of to do see's in the flesh...But for now I am more than happy to see and appreciate your fine picture...Great work...and a lesson as well in your superb note...Once again I thank you for a superb post.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-01-23 12:33]

Hi James. What a beauty. and only you on the boat. you have captured the Albatross with fine detail and natural colours. for a handheld in a boat well done TFS.

Hello James,

Fancy having these beautiful birds all to yourself!
You ahve captured this one well! The focus is sharp and there is lovely detail ... even to the drop of water on its beak!

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

Hello James excellent detail you got and wow an albatross, Well composed nice sharpness. tfs rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-01-23 17:53]

Hello James,
Damn thats a big bird, your portrait is sharp and well colored giving us an excellent view of this species, well done James.

This has apparently been a great trip to New Zealand for you, James.
What a huge bird this Albatross must be with a wing span of more than 10 feet!
The image of the bird is beautiful. Those wave shapes in the foreground add a lovely dimension to the entire composition.
Looking forward to more of your pics from this trip.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-24 2:13]

Hello James,
How wonderful to be able to capture one of these fantastic sea birds! Excellent sharpness and fine colours. The water looks lovely too. Only you're right about it not dong justice to their large size. Still a very fine shot!
Many thanks, Ulla

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-01-24 2:40]

Hello James,
I bet it was impressive seeing this bird!
3.7m wing-span is HUGE!!
You got a cracking shot of it anyhow!
The patterns and colours in the water are beautiful!
Great sharpness and clarity.
Even exposure.
Well done!

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-01-24 5:46]

Hi James,
It's a sharp, well focused and well composed capture of this wandering albatross with good color tones and exposure handling. TFS
Best wishes,

Hi James
Thanks for sharing this superb photo and
Best regards, Albert

Hello James,
You're right, I would never guess that this bird could have a wingspan of over 10 feet!
Great detail, POV, and you handled the difficult exposure well.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-01-24 9:45]

Hello James

Excellent focus and sharpness.
The colours and contrast are excellent.Wonderful POV and DOF.
The plumage detail has excellent definition.


Perfect detail! Wonderful light and sharpenss. Very well done but you're a pro in my book anyway.

Hi James,
A beautiful capture of this albatross. I see here it is resting. Most of the times I see they use to fly at higher altitudes. Excellent composition and details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

hello James

excellent shot, i love the POV of your image and that light
coming on his back, the sharpness and the details
of the subject are excellent, TFS


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