Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
This is often viewed as a true sea gull as it spends almost all of it’s time at sea, only coming in land to nest and raise it’s young. The nests are cemented to high sea cliffs with seaweed and numerous droppings, they lay two eggs which hatch after 27 days, the young are cared for by both parents and they fly after about 40 days.
The flight shots are taken using a tripod with a Manfrotto 393 head on the edge of the sea cliffs. The movement in the head is essential to get the very fast flight movement, as is the solidness of the tripod. We use a lightweight carbon fibre four section manfrotto tripod. It is relatively lightweight for carrying but still solid enough to support the Nkon D3s with a 500mm lens. We used a 1.4 teleconverter for these photographs, larger length teleconverters are almost impossible with auto focus as they do not re focus fast enough. On some occasions you are better with no teleconverter at all.