Hatching Least Tern

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I'm very aware of how much a part luck can play into wildlife photography. I also understand it's not all luck and that preparation, understanding, skill, and creativity all come into play, but sometimes even with all those things you need a little luck. I had been visiting a Least Tern colony for almost a week straight just waiting for the closest nest to hatch. I watched the adult birds sit on the nest day after day, getitng great portraits during that time, but internally I was hoping I could be there shortly after the chicks hatched. When I arrived on this particular morning the wildlife luck was on my side as one of the chicks had obviously recently hatched and there was still one egg unhatched in the nest. As I spent an hour or so photographing the chick that had hatched I had the passing thought of "could you imagine if I could get a photo of the other chick poking out of its shell?" which I figured was a near impossibility. I was just about ready to leave a little after 7am when I walked by the close nest one last time and I could not believe my eyes when I saw this chick had literally just hatched and was not entirely out of its shell yet! I got my 300mm setup because that let me focus much closer than my 500mm and took about 5 photos and then quickly moved away so the adult could tend to its chick. What luck to have witnessed this chick mere moments after it came into the world and still had the back half of its shell on it. I obviously walked away with a giant smile on my face that morning and I now have this photo of a memory I will probably never forget. Also an additional note, you can see that little bit of out of focus fuzz right behind the shell, that is this bird's older sibling tucked in the nest.

• Location: Southern New Jersey shore

• Exposure: 1/2500 @ f/4

• ISO: 200

• Exposure Mode: Manual

• Focal Length: 300mm

• Lens: Nikon 300mm f/4 PF 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.