This is one of my favorite shots from my recent trip to Panama City FL. More specifically, this shot was captured on the peninsula on the south side of the Saint Andrew Bay. I launched my kayak from the ramp in the Saint Andrew State Park, paddled roughly a mile to the peninsula, and proceeded to sit through an hour of severely heavy rain without any rain gear (I'll post a How I Got the Shot on one of the rain photos as well).
After the rain passed I mounted my 105mm macro lens (the longest lens I brought on this trip) onto my D810 and made my way up the beach towards the gulls. I noticed one gull in particular had only one foot. I laid on the beach near her, talked to her, and snapped a few photos. A few minutes went by and I noticed a huge cargo ship coming in from the Gulf. I knew it would pass right in front of me very soon, so I made the decision to position myself where I could see the one-footed gull between myself and the ship. I carefully moved into position, trying to not scare the gull and make her fly away, laid down totally flat, checked my exposure, and after about 30 seconds the ship came into view and I fired off this shot.
I was very conscious of my composition here so I could tell the story effectively. I needed there to be beach in the foreground, the gull in focus, the bay to be visible, the cargo ship to be out of focus but still be able to tell what it was, and to take the shot before the ship was intersecting with the gull. I was very fortunate that the gull happened to be looking in the direction of the ship, and that the wind was blowing enough to ruffle her feathers. All of this would take a lot of time to think out in the moment, but for me it all comes to me instantly as one fully developed feeling. I can't dissect it in the moment or I'd miss the shot. My intuition and experience work together in the moment to make me see the final image in my mind and know almost instantly what I need to do to achieve it.
I think all of the elements came together to make a very interesting image.