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Take Off

Take Off
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: 2008-06-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Exposure: f/4, 1/500 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-06-11 7:47
Viewed: 5043
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 62
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is one of the shots I took on saturday when I spent the day visiting the Farne Islands. The season is late this year and only a few pufflings have hatched, so there were relatively few adults returning with sandeels - and they were mobbed by gulls.

This one (taken with my 400mm 2.8 + 1.4x converter was just about to take off - I also used a monopod) was just about to fly off.

The Atlantic Puffin is 28-34 centimeters in length, with a 50-60 cm wingspan. The male is slightly larger than the female, but they are colored alike. This bird is mainly black above and white below, with gray to white cheeks and red-orange legs. The bill is large and triangular, and during the breeding season is bright orange with a patch of blue bordered by yellow at the rear. The characteristic bright orange bill plates grow before the breeding season and are shed after breeding. The bills are used in courtship rituals, such as the pair tapping their bills together. During flight, it appears to have grey round underwings and a white body; it has a direct flight low over the water. The related Horned Puffin (Fratercula corniculata) from the North Pacific looks very similar but has slightly different head ornaments.

The Atlantic Puffin is typically silent at sea, except for soft purring sounds it sometimes makes in flight. At the breeding colonies the birds make a deep growl.

This species breeds on the coasts of northern Europe, Faroe Islands, Iceland and eastern North America, from well within the Arctic Circle to northern France and Maine. The winter months are spent at sea far from land - in Europe as far south as the Mediterranean, and in North America to North Carolina. About 95% of the Atlantic puffins in North America breed around Newfoundland's coastlines.

The largest puffin colony in the western Atlantic (estimated at more than 260,000 pairs) can be found at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, south of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Predators of the Atlantic Puffin include the Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) and similar-sized species, which can catch a puffin in flight, or pick off one separated from the colony. Smaller gull species like the Herring Gull (L. argentatus) which are hardly able to bring down a healthy adult puffin, take eggs or recently hatched chicks, and will also steal fish.

MMM, Alex99, marhowie, LordPotty, PaulH, jaycee, boreocypriensis, Amadeo, SelenE, Dis. Ac., mayuresh, waminda2020, Arjun, pekkavalo1, vanderschelden, nglen, zulfu, gracious, NinaM, eng55, Necipp has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-06-11 7:56]

Hi James
Lovelyu image.Good POV and very sharp image with nice details and colors..I like that interesting pose from your subject.Also beautiful OOF Bg colors
TFS Michel

Wonderful pose and POV James, it's well composed.
Very good exposure, colors, DOF and details.
Well seen from this BG also.

Another fantastic capture James.
Details and colour are great.
Its nicely composed,although I might have been tempted to crop a little more from the bottom just to eliminate the big patch of OOF rock in the foreground.
It still looks great as it is though.
Very nice work indeed!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-06-11 8:02]

Hi James.
Superb in every aspect shot. First I am impressed with exposure, dynamic range and wonderful pleasant colours. Second is an amazing scene. Moment and pose of the charming bird. Excellent POV and precise timing. Composition is spot on. Bravo. Great job. My best regards after long absence.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-06-11 8:14]

Hi James,
a real beauty mate, excellent timing and all othe r aspects. I have heard that the Puffin populations this year are really low in the UK, but noone knows why for sure yet. I am glad they are still around enough for you to capture though, like this one.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-06-11 8:32]

Hi James,

The Puffin is the one bird I would choose to see in my lifetime. I think they are the most adorable birds and this picture reinforces that. The position with the raised wings is fantastic. Beautiful colors, razor sharp details, a background that makes the bird jump off the screen, and a superb composition.


Hi James! Perfect capture of this interesting and cute Atlantic Puffin with superb calrity my friend! Great moment too. TFS. Cheers,


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-06-11 8:55]

Hello James,
A fantastic capture of a Puffin the moment before take-off. The technical quality is great and enhanced by the dark BG in superb lighting. A great image, James!
Into my favourites!¨

Hola Jasmes, muy buena luz y color, nitida y con buena composición. Un saludo

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-06-11 9:22]

Hi James,
Beautiful capture of this cute puffin :o)
All the best

Hello James,

Cute beautiful bird, nice framed and exllent pov and dof.


James - a wonderful capture - i really like the sharpness and the depth of field! well done!

Hello James,
wonderful shot of cute puffin,intresting pose captured with great details,
well done.

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2008-06-11 10:17]

hello sir,
Fantastic picture, superb BG and all single details are also perfect.
Great dynamic picture

Hello James
What can I say?
Its an immaculate capture....Wouldnt it have been good to get one coming in with a beak full of sand eels?
All the Best

Hi James,

Excellent Puffin shot. Just love these birds. Their every movement has some cute even comical features. I have seen them in several places in UK and Norway but I have never been in Farne Island. Excellent pose and composition, nice natural colours, pin-sharp details and great BG.



Hello James,
Very good moment, you captured here...

  • Great 
  • efsus Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 415 W: 11 N: 843] (3947)
  • [2008-06-11 11:04]

Merhaba James,
Excellent shot of cute puffin,intresting pose captured with great details,
very well done.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-06-11 11:13]

Hi James. I have never seen one in the wild this i must do soon. I love the pose you have capture just before flight. good detail and colouirs. TFS. interesting notes too.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-06-11 13:29]

Hello James
superb capture of this beauty with excellent composition. TFS. Regards,

Hello James,
The dark bg makes this spread wings Puffin so outstanding!
very good moment captured in perfect sharpness, nice colour and superb details always
many thanks, James!

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-06-11 18:21]

It's a beauty, James, I love the 3D effect of the bird and the dark background. The colours are bright and superb, the movement of the bird is caught right on, I am just amazed! Thank you!


  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-06-12 1:31]

Hi James,
Funny capture.Lighting,pose of bird,colors,details and composition are perfect.
Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-06-12 2:13]

Hello James,
Fantastic photo. Excellent exposure, colours and POV. Great timing and pose. Wonderful sharpness and details. Contrast against the dark BG is gorgeous. Very, very beautiful!

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-06-12 8:41]

Hello James

A beautiful capture of this puffin.
It looks like it is bragging to it's buddies,"I caught a fish that was this big!"
Wonderful focus and sharpness.
The colours are vibrant and well saturated.
Great light.


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-06-12 11:21]

Hi James,
Outstanding shot of this Puffin readying itself to take off. Amazing sharpness and colours with great handling of lighting and exposure. Looks so cool. Excellent DOF, POV and composition. Kudos.

fantastic shot! great colours, sharpness and composition!
but no take off for this guy :-D

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-06-12 12:36]

Very, very good shot, James!!
Excellent pose!
Superb DOF and BG.
Really sharp and crisp.
Wonderful light.

Well done!


You've caught a cracking pose there, the out of focus background and the way the puffin is lit, make it pop straight at you. Very nice.

Hello James sorry I've missed a lot of your great photos I really love this one Puffins are so photogenic, you captured it beautifully with a good pose and nice POV excellent detail Best rgds Necip

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-06-17 20:47]

Hey james,
Perfectly poised...crisp and clear capture of the Puffin about to fly ....The overall grey tones add a dramatic effect to the scene and the white on the bird is perfectly and fine Bg that helps the viewer's focus completely on to the bird. The white on the bird is well exposed and good effective use of natural light in the whole composition.Very well done.
TFS & Cheers:)

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