Up From the Shadows


Taking good pictures of birds is not easy. Taking pictures of birds at moments when they transition between stillness and motion is particularly hard, because of the need to capture motion, compose by anticipation, and keep the eyes in the depth of field. All of these problems are amplified when you’re photographing a highly contrasty animal like a Snowy Egret, and they’re amplified again when the scene includes both bright highlights and deep shadows.

This isn’t a reason not try, of course; on the contrary, this is exactly why these shots are so fun to attempt, even if they seldom turn out well. This is one of my best to date. I spent about half an hour watching him fly back and forth between two sides of the channel — presumably on the assumption that the fish are always tastier on the opposite bank. I observed his body language, his flight paths, and the tricky illumination. I also took many, many completely unusable shots before I got this one.

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