Snowy Egret in early morning light – Nikon D70, handheld, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 240mm, natural light, not baited
This Snowy Egret was photographed as it stood in the shallow water of the Gulf of Mexico at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach one early August morning in 2007. I had the north tip of the beach to myself as the sunbathers, beach walkers and other photographers hadn’t arrived. It was very peaceful to sit low on the sand and photographed this Snowy Egret with the sounds of the waves gently lapping at the shore and the calls of gulls, skimmers and other birds overhead.
The Nikon D70 I photographed this Snowy Egret with is ancient compared to newer cameras and it is now the backup to my two backup D200′s that I carry with me on long trips.
More Snowy Egret images
Today marks the publication of my 700th post for On The Wing Photography. Yesterday I passed the 250,000 views mark on my blog which has reached viewers in 170 countries.
I’m so grateful to all of my viewers, for the comments you make on my posts, about my images and for the information you share with me. It has been a learning experience for me. I love sharing my photos with you all and hope that some of the tips I give have been helpful. I’ve also gotten to meet so many wonderful people through this blog.
I’m not a writer, I am just someone who writes about what I photograph, about my subjects plus the stories behind the images.
Also yesterday a friend of mine, Rod Wellington finished a 256 day, 3800 mile, totally self-propelled journey. Rod kayaked from the uppermost source of the Missouri River at Brower’s Spring in Montana, down the Missouri River to its confluence with the Mississippi River where he headed south to the Gulf of Mexico. All of this was under his own power including some long portages.
This isn’t the only long journey that Rod has set his sights on as he plans the do the 7 longest river on 7 different Continents all of which will be totally self-propelled. He is an amazing man and inspiration! Check out his blog at Zero Emissions Expeditions.
I have some news I want to share with you all. Yesterday the new edition of the National Geographic Pocket Guides to Birds of North America; by Laura Erickson and Jonathan Alderfer, hit the book store shelves.
The reason I am writing about this book is because it has two of my images in it!
Perched adult Loggerhead Shrike
This Loggerhead Shrike image is on page 110.
And this Snowy Egret is on page 39.
When I was a child I used to pour over the National Geographic Magazines that were a gift subscription from my grand parents and as I grew older I also purchased books published by National Geographic. Who knew that one day my photos would be in a book published by National Geographic? I am truly honored.
This book has 192 pages with 160 of them devoted the top species of birds found in North America with beautiful illustrations and images and it is packed with information about those birds. The small size of the book makes it perfect for tucking into a backpack or as a handy reference book for carrying along in a vehicle.
The National Geographic Pocket Guides to Birds of North Americabook is now for sale at book stores, on the National Geographic web site, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
Scratching Snowy Egret – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/250, ISO 400, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 200mm
I love winter, I love seeing snow on the mountains and feeling the crispness in the air but I am getting tired of gray cloudy days and heavy fog so I thought I would post a few images from warmer and sunnier days that I took while I lived in Florida.
It wasn’t exactly sunny when I photographed the Snowy Egret scratching its neck above but it certainly was warmer.
White Ibis feeding in the Gulf of Mexico Nikon D200, handheld, f8, 1/800, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 300mm, natural light
It was quite warm when I photographed this adult White Ibis as it hunted and fed in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on a sunny August day in 2008. Temps were probably in the high 90′s with humidity levels of about the same.
Brown Pelican in flight – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light
I took the Brown Pelican in flight image not long after I had gotten my Nikon D200 and I was learning about the camera. Unfortunately I clipped just the top of the pelican’s wingtip at the top of the frame so when I cropped the image I removed just the wingtips at the lower edge of the frame to balance out the composition. I’m still not sure I like that but I do love the direct eye contact I got from the pelican and the fluffy clouds in the background.
Black Skimmer on a hazy day Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/750, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
It was a hazy day when I photographed this Black Skimmer adult in breeding plumage, the wind was blowing and the temps were fairly high. I remember the warmth and texture of the sugar sand I was laying on and being grateful for the wind to help cool me off while I took images of this Skimmer calling.
I’m not exactly wishing winter would go away because winter here in Utah will last a bit longer but when I edit images from warmer days I realize it won’t be long until spring has sprung.
Calm Snowy Egret – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 360mm, natural light
This image soothes me because of the still water, the relaxed pose of the Snowy Egret and the memories of how delightful it was to be on the north beach of Fort De Soto with my fellow photographer friends with the warmth of the rising sun on my back as I lay in the tidal mud next to this lagoon. Calm is the first thing I think of when I view this photo.
Who doesn’t need “calm” in their lives now and then? I know I do. Sometimes more than others.
More Snowy Egret images
Snowy Egret – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light
This image could have been better. I have no doubt about that. I did get the exposure right and I like the action.
But there are far too many things about this photo that just don’t work.
- I clipped the tip of the wing at the upper edge of the frame.
- The foreground is messy.
- If I cropped to eliminate the messy foreground there would not be enough room for the “virtual” legs that are under the water.
- I don’t have great eye contact.
What I could have done to improve this image:
- My zoom lens was fully extended, I could have zoomed back to allow more room in the frame to avoid clipping the wing tip. If I had been shooting with a prime lens I could have moved back some.
- I was laying on the sand shooting down towards the egret that was in the water. I could have moved from the sand into the water in front of the bird to eliminate the messy, sandy shoreline altogether.
- Normally in a frame you want to leave room for parts of legs, tails, feet or other parts of a subject that may be hidden by water or other features so that it doesn’t make the viewer feel the subject is missing its legs, feet or other body part, had I moved away from the shoreline into the water I could have avoided that issue.
- Had I moved to a location in front of the egret I would have had better eye contact although the position of the wings would have appeared different at another angle.
This was a very cooperative bird because it was not focused on me, it was focused on hunting and eating prey so my moving may not have scared the bird away.
I feel that when I am culling out my “bad” images that it is important to evaluate why the image didn’t work, to mentally list things I could have done to improve the quality and composition, a form of self critique. I also critique the images that I feel “work” well and make a mental list about those items too. It might be a pain to spend the time evaluating individual images but I feel that my photography has improved because of my practising self critique.
Normally images that don’t work I delete right after I view them but this one I kept because it was the “kick in the butt” I needed (and still need) to pay more attention to the problems I see in the frame at the time the image is created.
*I am away for a while so I have scheduled this post ahead of time, please feel free to share it with your family & friends.