After a long time, I and my buddies once again set out for a pure bird photography trip. A four-day trip to Germany to the North Sea coast for Paradise terns. Fulmars and Puffins photographed everyone, so the choice of photographic objects did not seem to me to be quite traditional. In addition, who photographed black and white creatures knows how this discipline is not at all easy. That’s a bigger challenge. I will try to share a few experiences that might be useful for someone else.
Schleswig-Holstein region. West Coast. 850 km of brisk driving almost to the point of the highway. Even with 9 hour breaks. The colony is spread out on a stony part of a huge and otherwise completely deasphalted flood dam with a lock. Some nests are just a few centimeters away from the asphalt pavement where crowds of tourists are flowing daily. Just a typical wildlife.
Timing of the visit.
The plan was clear, to photograph terns feeding youngsters on their nests. On our arrival on June 4, 2013, however, we discovered only about two nests with hunted youngsters in non-spotted places. Almost all the couples still sat on the eggs, some even drank and rarely married.
The nesting site is located on the western slope towards the sea. There is enough light there, but it is more likely to be the evening time. Not only light, but also the wind here, affect the right time to take pictures. The fishermen are always facing the wind at the nest. So that their black head is not in the shadows and a little sparkle of light flashes in the eye, it is better for the wind to blow from the same direction as the sun shines.
300 / 2.8 seems ideal for me, especially for the airplanes. Surprisingly, despite the enormous surplus of light, the lightning will pay off, especially for backlit photos (the black eye is otherwise completely lost in the black cap). But if someone is patient, they can shoot something even with longer glass, even with my 500/4. If you are willing to risk some kind of crunching with a sharp red beak, you will also have a lens of 100 / 2.8.
The constant wind and volatility of the weather – changing the rain with the sun in a moment, requires really good clothes, including shoes. The relatively high tide reveals large areas of the seabed and there are good shoes and drought in them.
Fishermen are a fearless and aggressive species if you get too close to their nest. The attack on the head can then end with the bloody scar that we have witnessed. A trip for Paradise terns can be made by shooting ubiquitous oystercatchers, wild geese, gulls, redshanks. For four days work up to.