How I Got the Shot - Puffins in the Westfjords, Iceland

Driving down the winding dirt road towards the end of the west tip of Iceland, we were excited about the prospects of photographing the puffins.

Puffins are the clown like birds known in this area of the world who come and nest in the cliffs during the summer and spend the rest of the year at sea. These cliffs are known for their bird population which can number in the millions, the puffins being the most famous (photographically).

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The Latrabjarg cliffs are beautiful and imposing at the same time. They are 8 miles in length and up to 1400 feet from the ocean. We were there on a sunny but windy day, perfect for photographing these engaging birds. We walked up and down the first mile or so of the cliffs several times during the day, hunting for the best puffin images.

Because the cliffs are so steep, photographing the puffins sometimes required being flat on your stomach, hanging over the edge, so not to slip. The puffins are quite used to humans and didn’t seem to worry about us being close to them and in their nesting area.

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All of the puffin images you see here were taken with a 100-400mm telephoto lens. When photographing wildlife, especially birds, it’s important to try to capture an expression or movement to show their personality. These birds are quite comical and are easy to capture in amusing stances. This proved to be a successful shoot and we look forward to returning to this area on our next summer Iceland photography workshop.

For more information on our next Iceland Summer workshop, go to Jansen Photo Expeditions Westfjords Iceland Workshop page.

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