Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

December 7, 2009

Snowy Egret Alternatives

Filed under: Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light — richditch @ 12:11 pm
Snowy Egret on yellow water

Snowy Egret on yellow water

Herons and egrets are popular subjects for novice bird photographers: they are hard to miss at wetlands; they are widely distributed; they are large enough for even modest telephotos; they often stand stationary for long periods. But their popularity makes images of them very common, so it can take some effort to come up with interesting variations on them.

This Snowy Egret at the Gilbert Water Ranch caught my eye recently because of the way the vegetation on the far side of the pond caught the light and was reflected on the water’s surface. The sun was shining on the far bank but hadn’t climbed high enough to illuminate the egret, so the light was very soft on the subject, and rather blue from the shadows. I find this a great situation, especially when shooting digital where I don’t have to worry about matching the color balance of film with the prevalent light. By shooting in raw it is easy to adjust the white balance t the time of raw conversion and eliminate the blue color cast on the white bird. This also brings out the yellow on the water to an even greater extent.

I could have used less focal length than I had with my 300 and 2x so I could have gotten a complete reflection. But not wanting to lose the opportunity changing gear I shot what I saw and then cropped a little from the bottom to minimize the distraction of the reflection.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/350th second @ f/8, 12/01/09 8 am, full frame minus small crop from bottom.

Snowy Egret feet and legs

Snowy Egret feet and legs

Another way to get an interesting take on a common subject is to concentrate on details. Here I’ve cropped more than normal (this is 35% of full frame) to show just the feet and legs of another Snowy Egret at the Water Ranch. The bird surprised me by staying put on a nearby branch when I tried to get a clear view. I couldn’t manage a clear shot of the entire egret so I went for the feet.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/1000th second @ f/5.6, 12/03/09 3 pm, 35% of frame.

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