Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Falls and gulls

with 21 comments

Neither shortly after returning from our 2017 New Zealand trip nor during the one-year retrospective did I show you a picture of Haruru Falls in the Bay of Islands just minutes away from where we were staying in Paihia. Here, then, are a couple of photographs I took at the falls two years ago today. In the first picture, notice at least a dozen gulls in the background. I got much closer to one to make the second photograph.

But the most dynamic (because of wings being raised) portrait of a gull that day came from the Puheke Reserve on the Karikari Peninsula. The bird had been eating some of the little orange fruits you see close by it, and one second after I took this picture (thanks, metadata) it had spun 180° around to eat more.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 13, 2019 at 12:00 PM

21 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The seagulls look so nice and natural in your photos (as opposed to those hanging around on the scrounge at carparks).

    Ms. Liz

    February 13, 2019 at 1:11 PM

  2. Nice Steve! Wonder what happens if they get too close to the waterfall!

    Reed Andariese

    February 13, 2019 at 2:04 PM

  3. Beautiful falls and what a great photo of the gull!


    February 13, 2019 at 7:37 PM

    • I managed to catch the gull in the last photo at just the right split-second. Most of the other gull pictures from that sequence were mediocre.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 13, 2019 at 8:57 PM

  4. Great composition on all of them! I love looking at them all.


    February 13, 2019 at 8:58 PM

  5. Not only are the settings of the second and third photos quite different, it appears that you found two species of gull. That’s a nice, additional bit of diversity. It’s interesting that the gull in the shrubbery was eating berries. I’ve been trying to recall if I’ve ever seen a gull plucking berries, and I can’t say that I have, although I did find a reference that listed our herring gulls as berry eaters.

    The second photo’s my favorite. I like the way the bird seems to be standing almost exactly at the intersection of rocks and water, and the way those pure white feathers are echoed in the white water.


    February 13, 2019 at 10:07 PM

    • In one draft of this post I identified the first birds as red-billed gulls. Then I backed off because I wasn’t sure I was right. I never got to a tentative identification for the other species. As you know, even birds of the same species can look pretty different: male versus female, juvenile versus maturing versus fully mature, summer versus winter. With that in mind, I followed the old admonition to “Look but do not touch [upon an identification].”

      Since the second picture is your favorite of the three (white flowers spreading to white birds?), I’ll add that I cropped off a lot of falling water at the right. Even at my maximum 280mm, I couldn’t zoom in as close as I wanted. The third picture remedied that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2019 at 6:44 AM

  6. Nice work and I also like the second most with the falling water and the sidelong glance. And, as well, kudos for “gull” and not “seagull”.

    Steve Gingold

    February 14, 2019 at 6:06 AM

    • Interesting that you and Linda both favor the middle picture. What appeals to me about it is the whiteness of the bird against the darkness of the rocks.

      Through this blog and others I became aware that birders have a thing for gull and against seagull. The latter is what I grew up saying, and I get the impression it’s still what most people say. It certainly would work in New Zealand, where no place in the country is even one hundred miles from the ocean.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2019 at 6:53 AM

  7. Wonderful memories to share.


    February 14, 2019 at 7:52 AM

    • I sometimes still have trouble believing I’ve been to New Zealand twice in the last four years.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2019 at 7:55 AM

  8. Hey, New Zealand is not in Texas! . . . or Oklahoma!


    February 17, 2019 at 3:31 PM

  9. Hey Steve .. that last shot is amazing. Gosh was it 2 years ago already ..🙂


    February 19, 2019 at 3:22 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: