…morning light is magic…

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

0258Bolivar Flats 01172014-2

1/800 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

0373Bolivar Flats 01172014-2

1/1250 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

0378Bolivar Flats 01172014-2

8 responses

  1. That’s a pretty good group in one area. Real nice exposure on the whites. Cool shot of the take off and all being in focus. Good job.

    January 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    • Thanks David. It was a good consolidation prize without any Avocets close by. I was initially mad a the guy from spooking the flock but then wouldn’t have gotten the flight shot without him.

      January 22, 2014 at 5:17 am

  2. I know why you shot the groups at F11, but not sure why you didn’t shoot close to wide open on the single; unless you wanted to make sure you captured the action. I noticed you’ve been at F7.1 a lot to maintain focus from front to back of your subject. Nice control of exposure in all shots.

    January 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    • Thanks Doug. I was fairly close to the single Snowy and wanted to get him all in focus in the shot with the narrow DOF.

      January 22, 2014 at 5:19 am

  3. Must be very interesting to be there and hear the sounds of their wings.

    January 24, 2014 at 2:18 am

    • Thanks Cornel. It was fun to watch them take off like that. The sound was very cool.

      March 16, 2014 at 6:09 am

  4. Bobby Perkins

    Well worth the effort. The final take-off capture is just amazing. Also understand getting mad, but, do I slap the guy or shake his hand? That’s a large group. Fantastic work.

    March 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

    • Thanks Bobby. I was really ticked off when he scared them away but not so much after seeing my photos. You take what you can get in wildlife photography.

      March 16, 2014 at 6:11 am

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