Snowy plover on a Bay Area beach after sunset.

I love photographing shorebirds. What I don’t love is watching people’s dogs chasing after them on public beaches. There isn’t an easy answer. The dogs are just being dogs. It’s impossible to educate everyone on the state of our shoreline ecosystems. But a little bit of thought about how it would feel to have a giant carnivore 20-200 times your weight chasing you around would go a long way.

I don’t know if they were waiting, or if it was just a coincidence, but I was relieved not to see the snowy plovers come out until after the sun had set and all the dogs had headed home. Unlike sanderlings, which are perpetual motion machines, the plovers like to do a little dash, and then pause, and then dash again. Those pauses are perfect opportunities for a photographer to capture them standing in front of a snowy-looking pile of foam. Especially when the photographer is shooting at 1/50s to achieve 10000 ISO.