Speed vs. Wind

Sanderling

Sanderlings are a really photogenic species. They run up and down the beach, after the waves all the time, searching for food left by the sea. On the beach the light is often very nice and you have little distractions. There are a few problems though. First of all, the best point of view is, as usual, at eye level with the birds. This means laying on the beach, close to the water… Not that attractive in January with a near gale wind…. Secondly they are really fast. They hardly ever stop running, which makes it hard to follow them and keep them in focus. With my new camera this is a bit easier now.

For the Sanderling the conditions were even worse. That near gale wind was trying to blow them away and they had great troubles trying to run or even stand. My respect for these birds has risen quite a bit this weekend.

The fun part is always to capture a running Sanderling with both feet off the ground. Difficult, as they move really fast at those moments. I’ve managed two of those pictures at earlier sessions, both from the side. To my great surprise I saw this picture, with the bird hardly touching the ground and running towards me. A picture I definitely wouldn’t have made (or only with great luck) with my old cameras.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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