Chaotic Colony


Focal Length – 600mm

Shutter Speed – 1/50s

Aperture – f/6.3

ISO -64

It was a miserable day for bird photography. Actually, it was terrible for photography in general. The newspaper headline read “Massive Sandstorm Incoming”. But I did not bother to check the weather forecast or the newspaper in advance, assuming conditions will be fine for a good morning bird-watching session. Rookie mistake.

I woke up at 5:00 am and set off to Tubli Bay. On my arrival, I was greeted by a dark, ominous cloud looming over the coastline and knew immediately that I messed up big time. Nevertheless, I got out of the car in an attempt to capture at least one image to compensate for my lost sleep. Unfortunately, the only birds in the vicinity were gulls. Demotivated, I hung around for a bit before I thought I’d pack my camera bag and call it quits for the morning. However, as a last ditch effort, I decided to explore the opposite side of the bay, desperately hoping it would throw up some birds that I could photograph, and boy did it deliver.

A colony of no less than 300 shorebirds – plovers, dunlins, sandpipers and all – decided to land right next to the road. At first, I was hypnotized by the sheer size and number of the flock but I quickly snapped out of my trance and got on to eye level with the birds. I shot a few frames at a slow shutter speed to showcase the chaos that ensued when the birds saw a heron fly by or a car drive past, and ended up with a couple of frames that really captured the essence of the scene.

It was a truly magical experience to see the colony living peacefully and actually thriving even though it comprised of numerous different species. That’s a lesson human beings can definitely learn from nature.


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