Skimming at Ya!

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I've been searching for a place like this for a long time now and I'm so happy I finally found it! What I had been looking for is a small-ish open body of shallow water where Black Skimmers frequenty skim the water as they feed. I've also wanted the area to be remote enough that I could have it to myself, have clean backgrounds in most directions, and mostly to have green backgrounds. I've driven by this location a bunch of times over the past month and thought it had the potential to check all the boxes, so yesterday morning I finally got around to getting there. You see it required a 3:45am wake up, a drive to the shore, inflating my kayak and assembling my floating blind, kayaking out into the mostly inaccessible marsh, beaching the kayak, then hiking into the marsh to a small tidal pond in the middle of the marsh grasses. Once there I hooked my camera up in the floating blind, got in the water and began to wait for sunrise. This was not a casual outing for sure. At first light I saw my first Black Skimmer criss-crossing the water but it was in a more condensed area of water with lots of small islands in the way, it was tough to get any shots. Next another showed up and I started getting photos. Before I knew it there were half a dozen of the birds zipping around the open part of this pool and non-stop skimming! I was shooting for roughly an hour solid with no breaks. At times the birds were skimming so close to me I could hear the sound of their bill as it sliced through the water, I could hear their wings brush the grasses as they pulled up from a low pass last minute. It was absolutely incredible! In addition to it being exactly what I was looking for photographically it was all around an incredible experience with nature and wildlife. These experiences are why I push myself to these lengths, to be out in the wild, nobody else around, just me and the birds, and them flying right at me like in this shot. For me it's well worth every lost minute of sleep, it's worth all the work to get myself and my gear on location before sunrise, it's well worth sitting in some really smelly water, it's worth it all, and I hope you enjoy this photo.

• Location: Southern New Jersey marshes

• Exposure: 1/8000 @ f/4, ISO 200

• ISO: 200

• Exposure Mode: Manual

• Focal Length: 500mm

• Lens: Nikon 500mm f/4 VR

• Camera: Nikon D4s

Nature photography has become a very passionate hobby of mine and whenever I get a chance I love to get outside and enjoy being outdoors. I am also the co-owner of KGM Expressions, a wedding and portrait photography business, with my wife Kim. This is how we make our living and I love that we get to do that together.