Puffins in Blue

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Image: Atlantic Puffin on Staple Island, England. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 440 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

As I begin to learn more about birds and photographing them, I am noticing the different personalities of each species. When I first saw photos of puffins from my friend Muriel, I was instantly drawn to them by their beauty and charm. 

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Image: Atlantic Puffin on Staple Island, England. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 460 mm, f/6.3, 1/2500 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

What I didn’t realize was how enamored I would become of them. When I was on Hornøya Island in Norway for 3 days, at least half of my time was spent watching and photographing this one species.  My excitement grew even more when I learned how many puffins I would see on the Farne Islands in England.  When we disembarked from the boat onto Staple Island, the first bird we came across was the Atlantic Puffin!  It was squatting on a rock, resting in the sun.

Puffin in blue July 3 8611

Image: Atlantic Puffin on Staple Island, England. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 440 mm, f/7.1, 1/2500 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

I could barely drop my backpack fast enough to squat and take its photo.  Because of the sunny weather, we were a bit worried that we had to photograph in midday when the islands were open.  Luckily, the direction the puffins sat worked well for sun angle and I was able to capture them with the deep blue sea as the background.  They constantly changed the position and angle of their heads so I often waited for the right angle to minimize shadows on the body.

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Image: Atlantic Puffin on Staple Island, England. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 270 mm, f/7.1, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

I didn’t move from that location for a long time, capturing image after image of various positions.  I loved having images of them standing as well as sitting and even got one almost in a kneeling manner.

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Image: Atlantic Puffin on Staple Island, England. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 370 mm, f/8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

When I took a photo of them with their head straight at me, I couldn’t avoid a shadow of their beak, but the way the eyes lit up was worth it.

Puffin in blue July 3 8590

Image: Atlantic Puffin on Staple Island, England. Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 450 mm, f/7.1, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, hand-held.

For almost all of the images above, I increased my aperture to f/7.1 or f/8 to increase the depth of field since I was fairly close to these birds and wanted more of the bird in focus.  Since it was sunny, my ISO was 400 and I adjusted my shutter speed to achieve the correct focus to avoid over exposing the whites of the bird.  Seeing these beauties from the first step on the island was a great indication of what was to come…

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

28 thoughts on “Puffins in Blue”

  1. Beautiful Amy, love your images of the puffins, they are my favorite as well. These are the best photos I have seen of them.
    I am really enjoying your travels and reading your blog. Keep it up and enjoy your travels, I know you are!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The patterns and colorations of birds have always interested me. Why do you think this Puffin has a multicolored beak? Are both male and female colored the same? Great learning through your photography adventures, Amy, even though we aren’t behind the camera.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Leisa! The multi-colored beak shows up during mating and breeding season. We can’t tell the difference between males and females and when the season is over, the colorful plates on their beaks fall all to reveal a shorter duller beak during the rest of the year. Crazy!

      Like

  3. Easy to see why you get so enamored with this bird, it’s beautiful colors and the patterns are incredible – they even appear to be very personable.

    Liked by 1 person

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