Black-throated loon family portraits

Black-throated loon family portraits are finally ready!

After checking my Black-throated loon family photos in Lightroom I was desperate as my raw files were underexposed. At the first glance there was ONE photo which seemed to be OK. OMG such a huge opportunity to get great photos of loon family was lost…

Black-throated loon family, July 2020 Meikojärvi Kuikka Perhe, Finland
Black-throated loon family, July 2020 Meikojärvi

Black-throated loon family – shooting conditions

Black-throated loon family was quite close to the lake shore, but it was really dark as the sun was behind the trees. I borrowed 2x teleconverter from mr H to increase the length of my lens from 200 mm to 400 mm. As the teleconverter reduced the aperture from 2.8 to 5.6 and I wasn’t using any tripod, most of my photos were inaccurate and noisy.

Black-throated loon chick with her/his parent, Meikojärvi Finland, kuikka poikanen
Black-throated loon chick with his/her parent

I was lucky to have Donna to help me! By her guidance I got black and white in balance and finally this morning I was somehow satisfied with my loon photos.

Black-throated loon chick with her/his parent, kuikka perhe poikanen pyytää ruokaa
Mum (or dad) I am hungry
Black-throated loon chick with her/his parent, Meikojärvi Finland
The loon chick wants to get some fish

Thoughts about bird photography

I have avoided bird photography as I don’t have the right gear to do that properly. Before I met mr H, I was photographing sports, people and landscape. My daughters were both swimmers and most of my free time was spent in swimming halls, rest riding a horse. But life changes. My daughters grew up, stopped swimming and moved away from home. I divorced, stopped riding a horse, changed my work and met mr H.

Now I am photographing nature including birds. I have realized that watching birds and photographing their lives is really nice and sometimes even with my gear I have been lucky to shoot some photos.

Black-throated loon chick with her / his parent, kuikka poikanen ja emo, Meikojärvi Finland
Adorable little loon chick with his/her parent

Next project is to buy a new camera and longer powerful lens. Then I don’t have to blame my gear for lousy photos 😂

Thank you Donna for your great help 👍🙏🏻

If you are interested in Meikojärvi, please check my previous post Meiko has many lakes and Black-throated loons.

Minna from Finnish nature 😊

19 replies to “Black-throated loon family portraits

  1. I think you succeeded well with your pictures of the loons. It is always possible to save underexposed photos is my experience, overexposed always gets harder. I myself have tried to use tele extenders, but I am usually disappointed. With a good enough sensor in the camera of 24-30 megapixes, the result is just as good when you crop the image afterwards, usually better. In addition, with a good support of a stone or backpack, you do not have to carry a heavy stand. Should you buy a telephoto lens is my advice, buy quality but used.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Hans! I agree with 2 x extender it is not very easy to photograph. It makes photos smooth if it is dark. I tried to photograph with 1.4 x extender last winter and it was ok. Planning to buy 1,4 x extender and then next year change my camera as I am still photographing with over 10 years old Canon 5D mark II which has only 21 megapixels. It has served me very well but not it starts to be time to get a new one. Have you bought used telephoto? I have so far hesitated as it is hard to know how the lens has been treated. But yes I agree the quality must high and as new high quality lens cost too much!! Also the advice for the support is worth of trying. So far I have been using my knees 🙂


      1. If you buy the Canon serie L-lenses you can still be sure about the quality, often half the price. I got my 400/5,6 from Tradera, just hade to made it complete with a tripodgrip. I have both the extenders, but only used the 1,4x because lack of light. Shaking knees is not always good, some uses a small pack of rice! It works!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Yetismith! I love loons, they are so special birds and excellent swimmers. Actually I got to know Black-throated and Red-throated loons this summer. Before that I did not know where to find them. This summer we found two great places where loons are living. I hope they return back next year and get some babies 😊


    1. Thank you Magickmermaid! I really struggled with these photos… You are right regarding the feather markings, Black-throated loon has really beautiful feathers in its necklace. Also the markings on chicks wings are interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice series of shots, i like the angle down close to the water? It always pays to shoot raw and jpeg, you have recovered these well. If you walk and travel a lot, try out Olympus or Panasonic micro 4/3 system before you decide – don’t be put off immediately by the smaller sensor. Lenses especially are much smaller, lighter and often cheaper. With patience, hardly used bargains can often be found. Most of my current gear is second hand 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I was really close the water and got different angle to the loons. I have been using Canon over 10 years and now trying to figure out what to do next. Your advise is valuable, I will test some models before I decide. There are also new mirrorless versions from Canon, but they are really expensive. Second hand will be also something I will think off 👍

      Liked by 1 person

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