Silhouettes of birds in fog


During a cruise to Aleutian Islands last Summer we had some days with more or less heavy fog. Although those days are always dark and gray the can be interesting, too. Especially if the fog gets a bit weaker and the sun sneaks through. This situation is good for taking photos of the sun itself, but in this case I had another scene in mind. A cruise ship is most of the time accompanied by a variety of birds, especially if you are travelling near coast. On that day we were near an island where thousands of storm petrels are breeding. That's why the sky was filled with lots of them. The birds have a darker plumage and therefor appeared as black silhouettes in the foggy gray sky.

With the sun sneaking through I wanted to catch a photo with one bird directly in the center of the sun to give the silhouette a halo impression, like I previously did with statues. I took a lot of photos and in the end I must admit, that the ones I initially intended to take, didn't turn out that impressive. I more liked the other scenes with two or more birds arranged around the sun. Especially the second photo shown here, with the two bird silhouettes next to the sun, is my absolutely favourite one. I like the scene very much.

The photos look like grayscale ones, but they are not desaturated. This is natural grayscale caused by the foggy gray weather.

I took the photos with my EOS 600D and my EF-S 18-55mm standard zoom kit lens. The camera was set into P mode, which is the mode I most often use when travelling around. ISO was fixed to a value of 200 due to the gray weather. Aperture and shutter speed was calculated by the camera automatically. After viewing the resulting photos at my large monitor at home I must say, that these settings were not so optimal. The camera had calculated relatively high aperture values of f/16. Today I think it would have been better to choose Av mode with a fixed aperture of around f/8. This also would have resulted in faster shutter speeds and the birds would not have been motion blurred.

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