(Entered in Photo Friday's Complexity challenge.)
Pelicans are an odd mix of grace and ungainliness. In the air, they are masters of gliding, and will often been seen barrelling along the crest of a wave, just centimeters above the water, on the La Serena beach. I keep expecting one of them to misjudge it at some point and end up crash-landing into the surf, but they never do. When hunting, they fly up to some 20 meters above the water with slow beats of their large wings. They cruise around for a few moments with their beaks pointed straight down, then suddenly spear straight down into the water. "Spear" is the only word for it with those beaks of 50cm or more.
Getting into the air again, however, is another matter and grace does not enter into it. Likewise, on land, they appear clumsy and awkward. No surprise really, given that beak.
A friend of mine recently told a story of someone who was killed by a pelican. This bird had been injured and caught by some kindly park rangers who corralled it in a shower stall at work. Later on, one of them stuck his head over the top of the door to check that the bird was alright. For his trouble, the pelican saw him, and launched his beak straight up, javelin-like, under his chin and severed an artery in his throat. The poor fellow bled to death before help arrived.
With regard to the photo above, I am slowly learning how to play with The GIMP, a freeware image editting program. This photo is saturation enhanced throughout, then blues desaturated. You can see more, unmodified, images of pelicans in my Flickr account. Click the small pic below.
Think thats whats called a gaggle. Agree wth aleysey; cool shot!
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An amazing (truly complex) picture accompanied by a great narrative. I like that you add text to your images, it gives just another dimension to the whole thing! Perfect.