Laughing Gull, Island Beach State Park

Here are some tips for a sure-thing bird photo.
 
First, photograph with a level camera which means from the same level as the bird, potentially right at sand level when the bird is tight in the frame. The bird tight in the frame also lends to a successful bird photo.
 
The bird being oriented parallel to the imaging sensor usually works well and you can seldom go wrong with the head facing straight forward or angled slightly toward the camera. If you can see through the hole on the bird's beak, you are likely at least close to parallel. The bird is nearly centered in the frame with some extra space in the direction it is looking. Bonus points are awarded if the entire feet are visible.
 
A close bird, long focal length, wide aperture, and distant and uncluttered background combine to create a strong blur that makes the bird stand out.
 
Direct sunlight from low and directly behind the camera usually works well and the catchlight in the eye brings life to the subject.
 
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Lens is an awesome lens and a great bargain but it is not the foremost bird photography lens ... unless the bird wants your lunch.
 
 
Camera and Lens Settings
200mm  f/4.0  1/1250s
ISO 160
8868 x 5792px
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