I tried using the Auto ISO setting on the Nikon D300 so that I could shoot a mininum 1/400 sec. at f/8. The camera would adjust ISO to the changing sun and shadows, but I found that I was disappointed in the resulting exposures. I felt that the camera was slow to focus and would produce too many overexposed frames. In the camera's defense, the lighting was harsh; between sunlit white buildings and dark shadows, there were few moments where flying birds were properly illuminated and allowed for clean captures. Still, I would go back to shooting Aperture-Priority (f/8) at ISO 400 for the rest of the trip. I did manage a few keeper flight shots of a Western Gull as it flew back and forth along the pier. It was followed shortly by a light-mantled, speckled-headed California Gull.
As the ship began pulling away from the pier the swirling waters began to attract a number of gulls, including this dark-mantled Western Gull. A fly-by Heerman's Gull flashed its square white elbow patches that Howell and Dunn mention are found in less than 1% of adult birds.
Leaving the harbor we watched as dozens of Brown Pelicans swarmed a nearby fish market that had already attracted dozens of California and Heerman's Gulls. A very dark-brown, first-year Heerman's Gull passed close enough to the ship to allow a capture. A presumed, third-cycle Heerman's Gull, also passed below us. This bird could also be a non-breeding adult.