Anatomy of a photo #75: Pigeon Guillemot with eel grass


Came across this Pigeon Guillemot while kayaking in Drake's Estero

I came across this football shaped bird one morning while kayaking one of my favorite waterways- Drake’s Estero, in the heart of the Point Reyes National Seashore. (Much more on Drake’s Estero later. I’m working on a photo essay or two about it, it’s such a fantastic place.)

Anyways, I came across this Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) one day while kayaking in Drake’s Estero. It was a cold and foggy day, but beautiful all the same. These birds often remind me of their cousin the Common Murre, but they are smaller, and well… cuter. This one was especially cute as it had gotten some eel grass draped across its back as it dove down into the waters of the Estero while chasing down a fish. It happened to surface near me and my kayak, so I photographed this portrait of it. I almost think it was posing just for me.

The nitty gritty details are a 300mm lens with a 1.4x converter for a total of 420mm. 1/640 shutter speed because I was shooting handheld from the kayak. F/7.1 for at least a little depth of field, but I didn’t want too much noise so I kept it fairly wide so that I could have an ISO of only 400 in the grey day. The lack of direct sunlight gave everything even lighting with no harsh highlights or blocked up shadows.


About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website-
This entry was posted in Anatomy of a photo, kayak photography, My favorite Parks, nature photography, photography, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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