Brown Pelican, Flying, Up Close, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Too Close | Dec 2015

Too Close

Brown Pelican, Flying, in too close, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Brown Pelican

Was I Too Close?

Here’s the story.

It was a perfect day for taking photos at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, CA. The afternoon sky was clear, casting a warm bright light across the water. Brown Pelicans were catching fish near the foot bridge. And I was able to set up in a good spot with the light behind me.

Usually, Brown Pelicans will work far from the shore. Since a Brown Pelican has a 6.5-ft (2-m) wingspan, I need to be about 200 feet (70-m) away to fit the entire bird in a photo.

Today however, this bird spent most of its time close to the shore.

As a result – – Nuts! – – most of my flight photos caught only part of the bird.

Since I’d rather show the entire bird, I usually discard such photos.

But I decided to keep this one.

So what do you think? Is this bird too close?

Or is it just right?

By the way, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is a small remnant of the coastal wetlands that once defined the California Coast. It is one of the few areas left where we can see shore birds.

The Bolsa Chica Conservancy is working to preserve this area. I invite you to visit their site to learn more about what they’re doing.

Much success,

Steve Kaye

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.

Here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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  • Joe
    Posted at 08:11h, 01 December

    Looks just right to me. Great capture!

  • Gillian Martin
    Posted at 08:30h, 01 December

    Steve, I LOVE the up-close view! It’s rare. Personal. Says to me……Look at me! I’m a bird. Get to know me. I matter!’
    I like the plug for Bolsa Chica too!

  • Kathryn Grace
    Posted at 13:36h, 01 December

    Steve, this is an amazing shot! I feel such gratitude that you decided to share it with us. We can look right into the bird’s eyes. I feel as though it’s about to open its beak and take off my head. Thrilling.

  • Kirk Stitt
    Posted at 17:22h, 01 December


    Thanks for sharing this great shot. Artie (Morris) has many head shots of Brown Pelicans. I hope to join him in La Jolla the first week in January and learn some of his magic. He Would advocate using the 100-400 lens in this situation. Easier said than done.

    Keep up your inspiring work. We appreciate it.

  • Steve Kaye
    Posted at 18:26h, 03 December

    Hi Kirk,

    Actually, I used the 100-400 mm lens with a Canon 7D II to take this photo.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Beth Kingsley Hawkins
    Posted at 11:31h, 14 December

    At their annual conference, NANPA (North American Nature Photography Association) always has a section for photogrphers to share their humorous images. Participants thin up captions and the winning caption receives a prize. This image is crying out for a humorous caption. …..I haven’t come up with the perfect one yet, but I bet you could! 🙂

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