Machias Seal Island - Jeff Carpenter Photography

Machias Seal Island

Atlantic Puffin

2014.06.26


It took me a while to get through all these photos, but I finally have them done. These were taken off the coast of Maine on Machias Seal Island. The Bold Coast Charter Co. is one of two boats that will get you out to the island that sits 10 miles off the coast of Maine. It is about a 45 minute ride in good weather. Bad weather can prevent you from landing on the island for the best views of the birds.


There are several species of birds to see, and thousands of individuals on and around the island:

Puffins

Razorbills

Murres

Black Guillemonts

Surf Scoters

Common Eiders

Arctic Terns


Since I was going all this way to photograph the puffins I decided to rent a nice lens to get the best shots I could. I decided on the Nikon 300mm f2.8, and rented in from LensRental.com. I was planning on heading up to Maine on Monday, so I had the lens shipped to a FedEx location on my way up. It worked out really well, and saved me a few rental days.


I went with the 300mm because the bird blinds are only a few feet from the birds, so I needed something that could focus relatively close. I also got the 1.4x teleconverter to get a little more reach. You can see my usual setup (D7000 with Sigma 70-200 f2.8 + 2x converter) next to the 300mm below.

Nikon 300mm f2.8

I was able to handhold the 300, but it got pretty heavy after a while. In the blind I had it set up on a monopod as well as on the edge of the small windows. It worked really well and produced images much better than my 70-200mm.


I didn't get any good shots of the bird blinds. Needless to say, they were small and we squeezed 4 people in each one. I was lucky and got 90 minutes in the blind. Some groups are larger and have to split time in the blinds.


To see all the best images from the day go to my gallery or watch the slideshow.

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