Rim-lit Grebe

November 16, 2012

A study in shades of brown, a pied-billed grebe exhibits the typical puff-ball configuration of the species after eating and grooming. I photographed this specimen on a private lake in Franklin County a few weeks ago. I arrived before daylight and set up by water’s edge, in my turkey chair of course, but quickly realized I had misjudged the direction from which the sun would break the horizon. I ended up photographing this little customer directly into the rising sun so I had to make some quick adjustments, overexposing by over a full stop to reveal details in the bird’s plumage and face. When shooting into the sun, the subject is often rim-lit, as you can see here, which makes for an interesting composition. It’s always fun to make a fine glass of wine from sour grapes but I still prefer to have the sun over my shoulder if at all possible. I had planned my strategy using a map the previous evening and as I plopped down in the chair on the morning of the shoot I realized the error of my ways and had no way to correct my directionally-challenged set up. Although I returned for an afternoon shoot at the same location a few days later, this rim-lit image turned out to be my favorite of the series.

Thanks to Steve Murrie for giving me a tip about a trio of grebes on his community lake and thanks to Ron Millheiser for allowing me to use his backyard, which abuts the lake at their favorite feeding location. Although I’ve photographed grebes many times before, I never pass up an opportunity to capture new images of this photogenic species.

Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 500/4 L IS Lens with Canon 1.4TC II; 1.80 sec @ f/5.6; ISO 400; Aperture Priority; RAW Capture; Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod with Wimberley II Gimbal Head

Thanks for Looking!



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9 comments on “Rim-lit Grebe”

  1. Breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you for this wonderful blog Danny.

  2. You certainly made very fine wine from the “sour grapes”. The idea of overexposing in situations like this is something I’ll try to remember.

    Thanks for the photo and the explanation.


  3. Whow!!, what a interesting shot. That is so neat to see nature in its finest.Thank’s for sharing. No Deer to claim this past 2 weekends. Could have had many Doe’s, but decided they weren’t what I was looking for. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Nice shot Danny. Way to overcome the lighting challenge and make it work very nicely.

    • Thanks Mike. I’ll see you again when it snows at the park if I can make it out there. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Thanks for the great photo Danny and the “techno-tip”, I always enjoy those. On a side note perhaps Santa will bring you a compass for Christmas. 🙂

    • Ha….very funny! As a matter of fact, I did buy myself a Christmas present—Garmin’s top-of-the-line GPS unit with topo maps. Excited!

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