Don’t you just love it when your pictures exceed your memories of an event? I do! And it happened to me today.
I went out for my morning kayak, getting to the river about 7 AM, just as the sun was coming up. It was brisk out but not too cold, around 38º F. I launched the kayak and spotted a Great Egret across the way and slowly approached to photograph. But this bird was not into posing and after a minute or so, with me getting some pictures that I didn’t even keep, the bird flew away to a sunny and better fishing location. I noticed a Red –shouldered Hawk sitting on a nest and pulled out my binoculars for a better view. As I was watching the hawk, my kayak was drifting towards a point of land. The front of the kayak hit the land and I glanced up. Just a few yards in front of me was a Snowy Egret fishing.
1/500 sec; f/7.1; ISO 1250; 500mm; hand held from a kayak
Snowy Egrets have bright yellow feet that they wiggle as lures under the water to attract small fish. As you watch the bird they vibrate as their feet wiggle, while moving about in search of prey. Sometimes, when they are intent on fishing, they do not care if I get close in the kayak. This was one of those times. I drifted around with the egret for about 12 minutes. The sun was just rising over the top of the levee and the light was quite nice. The light changed drastically as the bird moved in front of me, sometimes being in the shade and other times bathed in the warm light.
When the bird would spot a small fish in quickly jabs its beak into the water to gobble up its prey.
1/500 sec; f/7.1; ISO 1000; 400mm; hand held from a kayak
It is not always successful.
1/500 sec; f/7.1; ISO 1250; 400mm; hand held from a kayak
As the bird moved around so did the light in the water. Sometimes the water was very bright.
1/500 sec; f/7.1; ISO 800; 329mm; hand held from a kayak
And other times quite dark.
1/500 sec; f/9; ISO 800; 309mm; hand held from a kayak
My favorite lighting condition was when the water was dark and bird was bathed by warm sunlight.
1/500 sec; f/9; ISO 800; 256mm; hand held from a kayak
After 12 minutes of picture taking, I thanked the egret and told it “you can now dine alone” as I departed to see what else was in store along the river.
Here are just some of the images I kept (I threw away a lot too)
I thought I had gotten a few good shots but when I downloaded my images into Lightroom and looked on the computer, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many really nice images I was able to capture in that short amount of time. I love it when that happens!