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Supersonic Tern

Supersonic Tern
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-09-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS USM, Digital ISO 200
Exposure: f/4, 1/6400 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): 5 favs. and up - PART 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-11-27 17:30
Viewed: 8739
Favorites: 7 [view]
Points: 70
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Swift Tern
Sterna Bergii

The origin of bird flight is still somewhat unclear, even though most paleontologists agree that birds evolved from small theropod dinosaurs. It seems likely that they evolved from ground living species, with flight developing after the evolution of feathers. It seems likely in this case that flight evolved as a result of benefits in the pursuit of small airborne prey items (such as insects), possibly subsequently becoming useful as a predator avoiding behavior.

Flight is more energetically expensive in larger birds, and many of the largest species fly by soaring (gliding without flapping their wings) most of the time. Many physiological adaptations have evolved that make flight more efficient.

Today birds use flight for many purposes. It is still used by some species to obtain prey on the wing, as well as foraging, to commute to feeding grounds, and migrate between the seasons. Flight's importance in avoiding predators can be shown in the frequency with which it is lost when birds reach isolated oceanic islands that lack ground-based predators. It is also used by some species to display during the breeding season and to reach safe isolated places for nesting.

The bird's forelimbs, the wings, are the key to bird flight. Each wing has a central vane to hit the wind, composed of three limb bones, the humerus, ulna and radius. The hand, or manus, which ancestrally was composed of five digits, is reduced to three digits (digit II, III and IV), the purpose of which is to serve as an anchor for the primaries (or metacarpo-digitals), one of two groups of feathers responsible for the airfoil shape. The other set of flight feathers that are behind the carpal joint on the ulna, are called the secondaries or cubitals. The remaining feathers on the wing are known as coverts, of which there are three sets. The wing sometimes has vestigial claws, in most species these are lost by the time the bird is adult (such as the Hoatzin), but claws are retained into adulthood by the Secretary Bird, the screamers and finfoot.

If you still doubt my fascination with flight... just ask Gert he'll confirm it. :)

JPlumb, bullybeef53, falke, PDP, biazberdy, scottevers7, Pentaxfriend, Janice, coasties, Matt-Bird, ellis49, red45, horia, vanderschelden, elefantino, fiyo, dew77, wallhalla15, blakitan, pauljk, bobcat08, marhowie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To falke: Thanx for the kind words...gerhardt 1 11-27 23:51
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2006-11-27 17:51]

Hi Gerhard, You don't say in your note that some birds use flight to catch a drink of water, but the detail in your photo shows this. This is an amazing capture of the Swift Tern skimming over the water. The position is excellent, you've left room for him to fly and captured an excellent mirror copy in the water.

Thanks, John

  • Great 
  • falke Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 153 W: 18 N: 479] (1863)
  • [2006-11-27 18:14]
  • [+]

Ahhh, this is an amazing, fantastic piece of art! I envy you for your talent. This is by far the best photo I have seen here on TN....

For me it is the water drops that makes the difference, it breaks the balance that would have been too perfect otherwise.

For me, as a newbie, it would have been valuable with some information about your PP work in Photoshop.

Your note is very educationaland the photograph fantastic . The refraction and the droplets of water seem surreal . You are certainly putting your fantastic lens to great use.the only question I have is did you sharpen the tern too much?

  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-11-27 18:34]

Hello Gerhard, those in-flights are easy :-)

Very well done on this capture, lovley scene. You did a very good job to get the relfection in too.

Well done!

¡Fantástica captura! Muy buenos detalles. La luz es estupenda. Buena composición.
Saludos, JL.

Just perfect. No need to tell anything else.
Thanks for sharing..

Hi Gerhard,
This is a superb shot. Great quality light, tack sharp detail, and the colors look awesome. The water droplets frozen in the air really add to the shot. The perfect reflection captured aint bad either. WOW!

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-11-27 20:06]

Bonsoir Gerhard!

Bravo pour la l'éclat dans l'oeil,les petite goutelette et le reflet.Félicitations pour les détails.


Hi Gerhard,

WoW stunting shot wirh an exellent reflection

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-11-27 20:39]

Oh Gerhard, it is good to see your superb photos again. Even the drops of water are double exposed along with the sharp image(s) of the bird. Wonderfully captured, TFS

And sorry, I think birds were created for flight!! And I know I didn't come from a monkey! Did you?

Holy cow! What a shot! Razor sharp detail, beautifully realistic color and that extraordinary reflection. I am in awe. TFS, Shelly

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2006-11-27 22:31]

Amazing in-flight shot of this swift tern! Excellent exposure and great detail. You can even see the drops of water falling from the tern's beak. Outstanding reflection in the water.

Hi Gerhard

A brilliant in-flight shot, but best of all is the waterdrops. You have captured this just at the right moment. The reflection is stunning. Lovely light too. :-)

Hi Gerhard,
Fantastic photo. Just wonderful timing and the image is so sharp.

amazing pic, especially the water drops, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-11-28 0:31]

What an amazing shot, Gerhard.
The in-flight pose is great as it is, but the perfect mirroring in the crystal clear reflection is just fantastic.
The drops of water just add to the whole surreal feel of this scene.
TFS. : )

Hi Gerhard,
this is a great in-flight shot. The details and exposure are spot on. And you captured a good action with frozen droplets.
And you captured this with a heavy 500 mm L lens, it's not easy to handle for in-flight shot, I'm impressed.
You don't need ducks since you have other beautiful birds in your region. I love this picture.
Great work, my friend.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2006-11-28 2:24]

Hi Gerhard!

Just superb! I love calm water which looks like tile of glass. Bird is of course main star here - perfectly frozen in time, detailes with excellent pose. And don't forget about water droplets - they're very good bonus!

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2006-11-28 2:39]

Hi Gerhardt,

A very nice inflight shot with nice details in the drops and the mirrorede image,well captured with good sharpness and details,I like it,


  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-11-28 4:04]

Hi Gerhard

What a magnificent capture! Not only is the bird super sharp at that focal length, but its reflection, too! Fantastic work!
You were a bit fortunate to have such plenty light fur such short shutter speed and and such small value of the ISO, but the merrit is still all yours!
The colors are simply lovely, the POV is perfect and the DOF is very well chosen.
Great work!

Bravo and TFS

Superb image. Very subtle with these water drops, reflections,..
Awesome in flight

No needs comment .


Hi Gerhard. I don't think I've seen a shutter speed that high on TN before, no wonder everything is pin sharp, even the water droplets are frozen.
Wel done on this great snapshot :)

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2006-11-28 6:03]

Hello Gerhard,
very nice capture with a superb composition. TFS

Good timing and composition.

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-11-28 7:55]

Beautiful composition Gerhard, with appropriate speed to freeze the bird in the middle of flight.

I like it a lot: composition, POV, DOF, color, focus, sharpness, lighting, reflection, framing, notes.

I don't like it: nothing to grumble.

I love uniformity of the image with its own reflection.
Best regards... Ricardo

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-11-28 8:26]

Hello Gerhard,
Magnificent in flight capture.Refelctions on water are amazing.I liked POV,moment you caught,sharpness and composition a lot.Excellent work!


sharp and clear,
love the reflection,
great colors,


  • Great 
  • Hil Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 696 W: 13 N: 1407] (5035)
  • [2006-11-28 14:07]

Hi Gerhard,

Whats a great in-flight shot, the composition is superb with a wonderful pose and POV, fabulous details with the falling water droplets and the reflection on the water is like a mirror, nice colours and lighting too.

TFS Hilary :o)

Perfect shot
perfect reflection

Hello Gerhard,
this is another fantastic shot! This is professional my friend. No critique! I think you use your Canon perfect. Thank you.

Hi Gerhard,
This is one hell of a shot and I think that most of what can be said has already been said with the critiques. I think your passion for inflights shows through very well with this very strong and unusual image. Technically perfect with a bit of luck with the mirror calm environmental considerations.
Thanks for giving me something to aspire to.
Merry christmas from New Zealand,

Beautiful capture, even the details in the reflection are perfect. This is a really excellent image. Bravo Gerhard. :)

dear Gerhardt
i saw yr photos i like very much SUPERSONIC TERN / LET"S HAVE A DRINK is so fine. you did fine job. will you send me few photos ? god bless you
ramesh dabke

Hi Gerhard,

What a perfect shot. Even drops of water are double exposed and see you in the mirror. No more comment. Perfect. Regards and TFS Bob

Bonjour Gerhard,

Quelle belle composition pour cette photo.
Tout y est parfait jusqu'au reflet de ces gouttes d'eau..
Merci de nous réjouir ainsi le yeux!


Hello Gerhard,
Fantastic capture of this bird with superb focus and POV, excellent sharpness and colors. I love the image of the bird and its reflection in the water with carity of BG. TFS

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