The Loons Call to Me

As I mentioned in the previous post, as we were leaving Ft.Flagler the fog was finally burning off. We weren’t more than five miles down the road where I stopped at Mystery Bay State Park because I’ve often seen loons there. We didn’t see any when we first stopped, but after we heard a loon calling to me I decided to walk out onto the dock to see if I could find it.

Before long, this Common Loon


surfaced in the inner harbor next to the dock. At first, I thought I would get great shots because of the sunshine, but as is often the case when shooting birds with black and white colors the whites were overexposed and attempts to correct that resulted in underexposed areas on the head and the neck even though I was shooting in RAW format. In the end, I had to “burn in” the white areas in Photoshop to put the stripes back in the neck area and to refine the white checker shapes on the back and “dodge” the head areas to restore the remarkable red eye.

Photography not only forces you to really “see” your subject, it also makes you appreciate the miracle of human sight and just how adept our eyes (and brain) are to adjusting to different lighting conditions.

Luckily, for the fifteen minutes that I spent on the dock observing the loon(s) I wasn’t even aware of the work I would have to do to correct the camera’s exposure problems. No, I was busy watching the loon paddle around looking for


a flounder.


Apparently this loon was used to people because it continued to float nearby as I snapped shot after shot.


Apparently it’s mate wasn’t bothered by people either, because it turned out I was probably photographing two different loons, which I wouldn’t have realized until I saw the two of them together.


I probably should have known the loon wasn’t calling to me when I got out of the car.

5 thoughts on “The Loons Call to Me”

  1. I really appreciate seeing these photos. The loons are so beautiful. You raise such an interesting question for me. When I am photographing birds, clouds, moon rises, I am often wondering afterward when I am looking at my downloaded photos what my eyes really did see. Does your camera produce what your eyes saw? Do you tweak photos to look like what you think you saw? I think about this every time I use photoshop to try and produce what I think I saw. It’s an interesting thing to consider that we each see things differently in terms of color and light. So challenging.

    1. I always tweak photos because I’ve set my camera to take several different versions of each shot. Then I attempt to recreate what I saw, which is rarely the same as what the camera “took.”

      Of course, I quite often play around with the background of shots, using an app to add “bokeh” or just to soften the background as a contrast to the main subject.

      Although I don’t like dramatic, over-saturated photos, I do too much photography to believe that a photo can capture “reality.”

  2. Hey Loren, maybe you can help me out with this. This time last year, and again this year, I am hearing what sounds like a hollow metal pipe being hit. I’m wondering if this is a bird making all that racket? It is SO LOUD. I’m thinking it could be a bird because the sound comes every morning in the spring, but no other time. A mating call? A migratory bird? Not a bird at all?

    I don’t know anyone in the PacNW who is into birds, so I’m unsure who else to ask, and Googling “Bird that sounds like pipe being hit” wasn’t helpful.

    In any case, I enjoy your blog and photos 🙂

    1. Sounds a lot like a Northern Flicker which uses metal (like our chimney) to amplify its pecking. It also uses the metal streetlights down the road. I suspect the flicker isn’t the only woodpecker to use that trick, but it’s the most common one in my area.

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