Flock O’ Snowy’s
My first trip in 2014 led me back to my favorite location, Bolivar Flats. Along the gulf coast, Bolivar is a premier location for shorebird photography, especially if you like to get down and dirty with a ground pod. The tide was going out at sunrise with several exposed sandbars.
My favorite targets, American Avocets, were all bunched up near the jetty behind a group of white pelicans. Didn’t want to spook the pelicans while trying to get to the Avocets so decided to divert to a favorite spot closer to the shoreline around the bend. This area is usually very muddy and it didn’t disappoint. Laid down to see what would come my way when a flock of Snowy Egrets flew in to feed further away from me. Didn’t want to scare them away with standing up and contemplated the best way to get to them. The terrain looked almost like a moonscape with holes in the muck like craters filled with water and higher flat areas like plateaus. Decided that crawling wasn’t a great idea so ended up walking on my knees using my flash bracket as a cane for balance. Went about 30 yards and laid down again to shoot and rest. The muck was smoothed out at this point and then belly crawled the rest of the way. The muck was so slick I was almost gliding. Got fairly close to the flock and a single Snowy off to the left feeding. Was getting some decent shots when the flock suddenly flew away. Looked to my right and another photographer had walked up along the shoreline and spooked the birds. Goes with the territory sometimes. Stayed put and some of the birds came back to finish off the session.
When I got up, I couldn’t see the camo pattern on my waders as the mud/muck was caked on so thick. Good times.
Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head
1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation
1/800 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation
1/1250 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation