I recently showed a photograph of a pair of nesting adult shags which I had taken during the course of a boat trip with some friends on Loch Sunart, just south of the Ardnamurchan peninsula in May.
During that same four hour boat trip, we saw this pair of juvenile shags sitting on a rocky island in the loch as we passed by. Unfortunately, we were some considerable distance from these birds and even with my 100 - 400mm lens at full stretch, I'm not convinced that this picture is as sharp as it should be. But I did like the way that the two birds were both staring in the same direction and I thought it looked just a little comical.
The European shag or common shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) is a species of cormorant, breeding around the rocky coasts of western and southern Europe, southwest Asia and north Africa. The plumage of the adult birds is a striking black/dark green with a wonderful sheen - which is why this species is sometimes known as the "green cormorant" - but juvenile birds have a less interesting and duller brown plumage, as with these ones.
You can see a larger version on "beta" TE here.
P.S. Having read the very helpful and constructive critique of this picture by Claude (CLODO), I think I might need to correct some of my note above. From what Claude tells me, he believes that these are not young common shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) but, because of their markings, are more likely to be young great shags (Phalacrocorax carbo).
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mesutilgim (80870) 2014-07-10 13:38
Amazing capture of this duo ! Blurred background is just perfect .
TFS and best regards
photoray (10629) 2014-07-10 16:26
Fine view of the two Shags looking attentive, a top the textured rock perch.
They look very similar to our North American Cormorant which has black plumage.
Thanks for sharing,
PS: I am envious, you own a 1935 Austin Ten. One of the cars I desired in my youth was an Austin Healey.
emka (74187) 2014-07-10 22:50
Hello John, For me, the sharpness is excellent. How nice these two young birds are. Beautiful composition with the shags against the blurred background, nice natural colors. and how interesting that you can make boat trip on the lake. Must have been very pleasant day.
Warm regrads Malgo
jjcordier (74022) 2014-07-10 23:40
Une photo très bien cadrée et de remarquable qualité de ces deux jeunes volatiles d'une netteté irréprochable.
Nicou (117728) 2014-07-11 1:54
Mervielleus eiamge et compo quelle vue de ces oiseaux sueprbe ils sont très fiers et le rendu sur la pierre et roche ou ils se sont posé sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié
timecapturer (45985) 2014-07-11 4:38
superb shot of these two cormorants. They are fascinating birds and difficult to get close up shots of, so I applaud this excellent capture. I notice it was right at the limit of your lens, but it is sharp and beautifully detailed. Well done!
Have a great weekend - B.
macjake (53320) 2014-07-11 4:47
Ok...you know i just HAVE to make a comment regarding the fact these birds are called Shags! really?
is it just me that i find that term a little bit odd and really funny? lol
Or is this another one of those words that us North Americans and Europeans have totally different meanings for?
shags or no shags (preferrable lots of shagging)
you came out with a fine presentation of these birds enjoying the view across the rocks.
surprised to see how much out of focus blur you achieved at 7.1
One would think the bg subjects would be more in-focus at 7.1
perhaps its because of the long 400mm - must be.
nothing to be questioned about this one John, looks sharp to me.
enjoy your day
jhm (136096) 2014-07-11 4:53
The last twenty years see we also in Belgium these cormorants, the great foe of the fishermen in the Lakes.
Different Lakes of the fisher clubs, become guarded by fishermen with a boat, also big swans in plastic become on the water placed.
But your picture is again very well made.
Composition and presentation make these picture very nice.
Colours and sharpness make these picture very attractive.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice weekend,
delpeoples (52767) 2014-07-11 5:37
Gidday dear Giovanni
I love your shag shots. hehehehe. And here you have 2 for the price of 1,which is always a good thing. Beautiful rich colours and I like what you have done with (what looks like the Dodge/Burn Tool) the light. particularly on the green part of the rocks. Perhaps I'm nit-picking, but the separation between the very sharp shags and the very blurred BG is quite dramatic and looks a little overdone. But this is a very tiny gripe and is probably a question of personal taste - or the fact of the full moon at the moment ;)
holmertz (38041) 2014-07-11 7:24
I don't have any problems with the sharpness of this photo. The birds are very nicely positioned against the blurred background, which has a lighter tone of the same colours of the nearest cliffs. I wonder what the birds are looking at. Maybe if one turns its head in one direction the others will automatically look the same way.
CLODO (29442) 2014-07-11 8:10
I am fond of birds and have been 2 weeks in the Shetlands islands in August 1975.
I think that the image shows 2 great shags (phalacrocorax carbo) as they have a white chin, well spotted against the blurred background which color is in acordance with the overall picture.
The link in your note directs on a crested shag (phalacrocorax aristotelis).
Informations taken from my birds guides.
have a nice WE
lousat (73197) 2014-07-11 8:59
Hi John,a perfect pic for treknature too,magnificent capture of this couple in a curious and original perspective,great detail despite the distance and bright colors too,i like it! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano
jemaflor (81718) 2014-07-12 23:45
Well taken, perfect light management on these birds, interesting attitude, the same position for these birds, excellent sharpness management and good dark BG.
Noel_Byrne (21684) 2014-07-13 5:47
This is a beautiful natural scene, and once again one I would expect to see in Nat Geo magazine. Your control over the depth of field is just perfect and you position these little birds perfectly in the frame. We can e detail of the world they live in with the tempting view of the land beyond, and the more immediate mossy rocks which the birds have "decorated" in their own special way. I love they even turned to face the light to give you the perct result.
Thanks as always
Silvio1953 (117383) 2014-07-13 6:16
Ciao John, great capture of lovely couple, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
rogerl (1544) 2014-07-16 6:23
Hi John, you did capture these birds at the perfect moment, both looking at the same spot out of frame. I don't see a problem with the sharpness. The background is nicely blurred, and the colors (even in the bg) are really lovely. I particularly like the brown sheen of the birds' feathers. Thanks.
Tigerlily (3033) 2014-07-19 15:18
Superb shot, John.
Wonderfully using DOF, I love the blurred background and clear foreground, it made the birds stand out beautifully.Great work!
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (19080)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-05-25
- Categories: Nature, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/1250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2014-07-10 13:25