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Arctic Terns

Arctic Terns
Copyright ©2005, Jens Birch
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Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea)

Here is one of my favorite pictures from my recent trip to Iceland.
These Arctic terns have a large colony very close to this almost sweet water lagoon where Europe's largest glacier Vattnaj?kull continously produces icebergs. There seems to be an abundance of fish as you can see. The terns gather in large flocks to feed in the near 0 ?C water. This is just a fraction of the flock isolated by the narrow field of view at 200 mm focal length. A pity though that the close out-of-focus tern came into the field just as I triggered the shutter. (Handheld at 1/400 sec, f/6.3, and ISO100 using a a polarizing filter.)

Cheers, Jens.
Photographer: Jens Birch
Folder: Jens' Wildlife
Uploaded: 30-Jul-2005 08:41 CEST
Current Rating: 9.25/4
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Model release available:
Camera: Olympus E1
Exposure time: 1/400
Aperture: f/6.3
Focal length: 200mm (400)
Lens: Digital Zuiko 50-200mm/2.8-3.5
Focusing method: Spot
ISO: 100
White balance: Auto
Flash: no
Image format: SHQ
Processing applied: None
Image resized to: 712x950

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Very nice picture Jens, many times I tried to get a Stern ( Dutch name) on the picture. One's in a while we see one overhere, they are so fast , diving down in to the water to catch a fish and than move on again. So I hope to make one like this also..... Best regards...

Fonzy - at 14:45 CEST on 30-Jul-2005 [Reply]


Wonderful colors; fine use of a less focused background; interesting group of birds with different fly positions. Congratulations!

Piero Magnani at 18:13 CEST on 30-Jul-2005 [Reply]


A very nice picture.

Sergio Di Giovanni at 20:03 CEST on 30-Jul-2005 [Reply]

Arctic Terns

Great colors and focus! good work!

Sergey Green at 07:18 CEST on 31-Jul-2005 [Reply]



Actually, I think the most difficult with terns is to expose them correctly. Their black eye in the black cap and the contrast to the white feathers is the real challenge. I don't think they are that hard to take in flight because they are not so shy and they often hover for a second in their hunting for fish. I'll soon post some closer up pictures for you.

Cheers, Jens.

Jens Birch at 09:54 CEST on 31-Jul-2005 [Reply]


Superb. The patterns and colors in the ice and the beautiful sea really make a great background. Great work!

Darrell E at 04:52 CEST on 23-May-2006 [Reply]