Photo Tips

Loon Take Off

Loon Take Off

Loon Photography – Tips For Getting Great Loon Pictures.

  • Great Loon pictures require great lighting conditions and yes that means getting up before sunrise.  I’m in my boat and out with the birds before the sun crests the horizon.  Note the golden colour in the bubbling loon photograph, that shot is taken before the sun is up.  Late evening is also an ideal time to capture a great loon image.  Once the sun starts to get up higher in the sky all the white highlights get blown out.
  • F/8 and be there absolutely applies to loon photography.  In early morning you’ll need to boost the ISO to keep the shutter speed above 800, 1,000 preferred, for wing spreads and flight shots.
  • Focus on the loons eye always.  Standard operating procedure for wildlife photographers but always worth reminding and in great light you’ll get that classic red glowing eye which is must for a loon image that wows.
  • Get down as low and  level to the water as you can.  The very best wildlife photography images are usually taken at the subjects eye level so in the case of loon pictures you need to go low, very low.
  •  Pay attention to the backgrounds.   Very seldom do I come home with a great loon picture taken out in the middle of the lake.  Shoreline shots particularly cattails make for nice backgrounds and reflections in the water.
  • Calm water makes for great reflections of the loon so pay attention to the weather forecast, particularly wind forecasts.  If it is going to be windy I generally take a pass on loon photography and stay in bed or go shoot other subjects on land.
  • Invest in an electric trolling motor.  The best purchase I ever made, it has a hand held remote so I can steer the boat without ever taking my eye off the loons.  It’s super silent so minimal disturbance to the birds.
  • First light is feeding time, especially so for a family with young chicks.  The male loon does the fishing and mom stays with the young, so don’t go chasing the male, he always returns until all have had their fill.
  • Keep an eye open along shore, especially islands where predation would be low, as this is often where loons prefer to nest.  Once found keep your distance so not to disturb the adults on the nest.