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Flying Purple Martin | by Ray Hennessy
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Flying Purple Martin

This was my first time really trying to photograph Purple Martins. They are always found at man-made nest boxes which are never the most photogenic locations. The boxes are also always high in the air so any attempts at flight shots are from underneath with a plain sky background. For these reasons I tend to skip over them. Towards the end of my visit to the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor I noticed the Purple Martin nest boxes were significantly lower than normal and conveniently there was a deck to shoot from which allowed for a possibility of getting a marsh grass background. It was around 9am that morning but the thin overcast skies created perfect lighting for these dark birds. I set up for flight shots and tried my best to get the birds just before they landed on their nest box. Even with having them flying to a consistant location they are incredible difficult to track. After a little over 30 minutes of photography and hundreds of photos I managed to get 1 single decent photo of a male Purple Martin in flight against a nice green background. Taken in Stone Harbor in southern New Jersey. ~ 6/2/16 - ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at f/6.3 - ISO640 ~ 500 mm ~ 500 mm f/4

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Taken on June 2, 2016