Vulture Convention

I recently went to the edge of the Niagara Gorge to photograph some vultures gliding on the thermals and was greeted with such a large group it was almost like going to a vulture convention.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-1000
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, efov 189mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-1000

These were only the birds gliding up higher in the thermals, there were many more lower down in the Niagara Gorge.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-280
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-280

While vultures are not the most photogenic of birds they do make good practice subjects.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-900
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-900

My apologies for the unusual exposure settings on some of these images. I inadvertently brushed the shutter dial against my leg and cranked up the shutter speed beyond where it needed to be.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-320
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-320

There were so many vultures circling over the gorge and I was firing off so many consecutive short image bursts that I didn’t even notice that my settings had changed. A lesson reminder for sure.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-2500
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-2500

Visiting the Niagara Gorge in the afternoon is often a good time to see vultures in flight.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-360
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-360

As they traverse up and down the gorge they are often close enough to fill the frame of your photograph.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-1400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO-1400

Depending on the angle of the afternoon sun, and Lady Luck, it is also possible to get the occasional image with nice highlights on the wings and backs of the birds.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-360
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-360

When I first arrived at the gorge I took a few images with a Nikon 1 J5 with a Zacuto F-Finder attached via some elastic bands.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-2200
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-2200

You may notice some differences between the images taken with the V2 and the J5.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 129mm, efov 349mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-160
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 129mm, efov 349mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-160

All of the images in this article were taken at the Locust Grove Picnic Area. This area is just south of Brock’s Monument on the Niagara Parkway (on the way to Niagara Falls), immediately after going around the traffic circle. The driveway is on the left-hand side (Niagara Gorge side).┬áIt is marked with a very small sign that is easy to miss!

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