Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Photographing a Merlin Under Gray Skies

I made a lunch drive to the Sandy Urban Fishery last Thursday (11/1/12) for the first time in about a year. There was nothing unusual on the pond, but a Merlin was hanging out in the area and allowed some nice observations as it flew from a tree down to the edge of the pond. It was the first time I'd seen a Merlin land on the ground, by water, without going after prey. It flew from the edge of the pond to a couple more trees and then went down to the water's edge by the Jordan River, west of the pond. Several Magpies mobbed the Merlin there as it attempted to bathe so it flew back to some trees to preen and air out.

We had very gloomy skies in Salt Lake County that day so it was a horrible/difficult day for photography (especially for a rookie photographer), but the Merlin perched long enough that I was able to play around with some camera settings until I got some decent images. I had to crank up the exposure compensation quite a bit due to the low lighting and having a mostly gray sky as the backdrop to a small, darkish bird.

Below are some images of the Merlin at the Sandy Urban Fishery. Flight/action shots weren't possible due to the low lighting that day.
Merlin at Sandy Urban Fishery in Sandy, Utah
The sky was very gloomy the day this bird was photographed so exposure compensation was increased significantly.

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