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Posts tagged “White Morph Reddish Egret

My Favorites from 2019

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on 2019 and what’s to come in 2020. My photography goals for 2019 were to get out and shoot more than in 2018 and try to improve the quality of my photos.  Made some progress on both of those goals.

Yellowstone in winter was the highlight again this year, along with several local trips to the gulf coast/surrounding area. Looking forward to seeing what 2020 will bring. It’s going to be an interesting year for sure.

Here are some of my favorite photos from 2019.

Great egrets from High Island rookery that made the top 100 in Audubon’s photo contest.

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Yellowstone Bison with some frozen fog @ -22 deg F.

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Yellowstone coyote jumping up the hill towards us. Off the charts experience.

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Black-necked stilt posing for me at Bolivar Flats

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Thousands of American Avocets on the shoreline at Bolivar Flats with my group from Galveston’s FeatherFest.

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Reddish Egret in silhouette at Bolivar Flats.

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White morph reddish egret at Bolivar Flats along the Texas gulf coast.

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Reddish Egret from Bolivar Flats.

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American Avocet taking off at Bolivar Flats.

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Willet landing at sunrise at Bolivar Flats.

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American Avocet at Bolivar Flats.

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White Morph with Wings Up

The reddish egrets have been out in full force lately at Bolivar Flats on the Texas Gulf Coast.  This beauty was chasing fish around with his wings extended, as reddish egrets are known for.  Always a good time to watch these birds dance around while fishing.  They are very fast and a high shutter speed is highly recommended.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/3200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1/3 exposure compensation0941_Bolivar_Flats_06292019-2

1/3200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1/3 exposure compensation0946_Bolivar_Flats_06292019-2


White Morph Reddish Egret

Spent some quality time on July 4th at Bolivar Flats along the Gulf Coast taking photos of reddish egrets at high tide.  They weren’t as active as my previous trip but they finally came out to play as we were ending our morning trip.  I’m not a major fan of taking photos at the beach with cloudy skies but it was still fun.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 1600, +2 exposure compensation

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Reddish Egret Pose

Finally made it back to Bolivar Flats yesterday after a long hiatus (since April).  Got invited to head to the flats by Lea, who contacted me back in May for some advice.  It was a good time and I needed the motivation to get back out there in this heat.  Feels-like temp when we arrived just before sunrise was 95 deg F.  Decided to not wear my waders or jacket and just get all wet/sandy, which happened as predicted.

There were lots of birds around including reddish egrets, pelicans, willets, long-billed curlews, marbled godwits.  Did not see any avocets.  We spotted 2 reddish egrets and 3 white morph reddish egrets in the area and took some time to photograph them and get closer to this one.  They weren’t very active but we had the opportunity to get some decent shots of them posing and preening.

Reddish egrets will puff out their feathers when they are trying to intimidate other birds.  Not sure what got this one excited but it made for nice looking hairdo.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

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Caught it!

Reddish egret are quite the fishing experts.  This white morph put on a great display of fishing prowess and ended up catching this fish and looked in my direction.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

1/1600 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, +1 exposure compensation

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Reddish Egret Jump in B&W

 

This white morph reddish egret was practicing his jumping skills at Galveston’s FeatherFest in April.  This was shot #11 out of a series of 16 photos that he was in the air.

Colors were somewhat muted so I converted into B&W using NIK Silver Effects.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/1250 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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White Morph Reddish Egret Launching

Sunday’s visit to Bolivar Flats with my last field trip for this years Galveston’s FeatherFest.  Was a little worn out after 4 days but it was well worth the effort to take a couple of groups to Bolivar Flats.  It was a new experience for some of them and we had some great photo op’s on both trips.  We couldn’t get very close to the avocets on this trip but I did find a morph reddish egret.  Spotted him at a distance and maneuvered the group close to the water as he was fishing.  He worked his way back and forth in front of us making for some great photo op’s.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II and 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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All Puffed Up

This white morph reddish egret was all puffed up while strutting around Bolivar Flats.  There has been a record crop of white morph’s around this neck of the woods lately, which is very cool.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/2000 sec @ F8, ISO 400, evaluative metering, no exposure compensation

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Pelican Stealing White Morph’s Fish

Here are some photos of the brown pelican scaring the white morph reddish egret in order to steal his fish.  He surprised me as well and they were too close at 700mm and ended up clipping the pelican’s wings in the first shot.  You can see the fish drop in the second photo with the pelican getting ready to enjoy his spoils in the last shot.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500MM F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Flying Fish – White Morph Style

As a continuation from my last post, both white morph reddish egrets that we saw caught some very large fish.  A lazy or very smart brown pelican then started to chase the white morphs to scare them into dropping the fish so that he could reap the benefits of the great fishing skills of the egrets.

This white morph apparently fled the scene and kept the fish in tow while flying, which was a first for me to see, let alone photograph.  Luckily he landed fairly close to us with a very nice wing spread.

Got some photos of the pelican getting one of the white morphs to drop his fish later in the morning.  I’ll post those next time.

This was one of my most successful guiding trips to Bolivar Flats.  This was a very rare event to witness/photograph so I’m very pleased that my client got to see this behavior and get some great photos.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

Aperture priority, 1/2500 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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White Morph Reddish Egret

On this recent trip to Bolivar Flats in Texas, the reddish egrets were out in force, including two white morph’s.  I was guiding Bruno from San Diego, who hadn’t seen a white morph before so it was great timing.  They danced around right in front of us and both ended up catching some very large fish and had a close encounter with a brown pelican.  More photos to come.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/2000 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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My Favorite Photos from 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on this year.  From a work/personal perspective, it was a very busy year with less time for photography than normal for me.  From a photography perspective, there were fewer local trips but more trips outside of the Houston area including California, Lubbock TX and the Valley area in SW Texas.  Galveston’s FeatherFest in April was a blast as always.

My goals for 2017 are to continue to expand my photography reach beyond Texas and to also try to get back to my roots more often around the Gulf coast area.

Thanks to everyone that checked out my blog and special thanks to those who commented on my photos.

Hope that everyone has a fun and safe new year’s celebration.

Here are some of my favorite posted photos from 2016.

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White Morph Reddish Egret

Found two White Morph Reddish Egrets at Bolivar Flats last weekend while guiding my old buddy Newton.  He brought along Ruth Hoyt, who is an excellent professional photographer/guide at south Texas ranches, like Laguna Seca, where I first met her.  It was great to see both of them again.

The tide wasn’t low but the birds were out in force.  We started with a group of Willets and other small shorebirds with a lone Avocet nearby.  There was a group of Avocets within striking distance but they were spooked and took off.

Spotted a couple of Reddish Egrets further down the shoreline and headed that direction.  The Reddish Egrets weren’t very active initially so Newton and I headed back up the shoreline to a group of Black Skimmers.

We then spotted at least two White Morph Reddish Egrets back down the shoreline so we headed back in that direction.  Lots of up and down on this trip.  Found two White Morph’s and two Reddish Egrets along with one Great Egret standing around.  They eventually started to catch fish with one of the Reddish Egret’s trying to chase the two white morph’s away.

This White Morph was striking some nice poses with his feathers all perked up as he was checking out the other egrets.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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The Look

After a couple of hours shooting shorebirds, hiked back to the car worn out and ready to clean up/pack away my gear and head home.  However, this White Morph Reddish Egret was fishing just off shore close to the parking area and he forced me to lay down one more time.  Glad that I’m easily influenced by birds.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F14, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, 700mm

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Raise Your Wings

Fishing action with a White Morph Reddish Egret.  More ground pod action from my last trip to Bolivar Flats.  Converted to B&W using NIK Silver Efex.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500MM F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 1600, evaluative metering

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White Morph Reddish Egret Fishing

This white morph reddish egret put on quite a show during my field trip to Bolivar Flats for Galveston’s FeatherFest. Too bad it was cloudy but I’ll take that over rain any day.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter

1/1250 sec @ F11, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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1/800 sec @ F13, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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1/1000 sec @ F13, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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1/800 sec @ F13, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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1/800 sec @ F13, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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FeatherFest “Birds Eye View” Field Trip to Bolivar Flats

Took a group of willing photographers from Galveston’s FeatherFest to Bolivar Flats on Friday morning for some down and dirty action while taking photos of shorebirds on my “Birds Eye View” field trip.  Several members of the group had never been to Bolivar before so it was going to be a treat if the weather and birds cooperated.  The weather forecast was bleak up until the morning of the shoot.  Instead of forecasted thunderstorms, we were met with clouds, waves, light winds, temps in the low 70’s (deg F) and very high humidity.  Along with lots of gnats.  It didn’t look very promising when we turned onto the beach as there were waves and no sandbars or birds in sight until we got to the parking area.   Spotted some birds further down the shoreline so my hopes were raised.

We started out at the first small sandbar sticking out from the shoreline to practice the technique of getting down low and eye level with the birds.  There were several ground pods being used in the group along with a few tripods.  There were a few Willets, Terns and Sanderlings in that area but nothing overly exciting.  Spent a few minutes there and moved on down the beach to try to get close to a group of Black Skimmers.

Aperture priority, 1/400 sec @ F 5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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There were lots of  Skimmers hanging out at our next stop.  We got as close as I felt that we could without spooking them and ended up with some good photo op’s of the Skimmers taking off and landing back at the same location.

Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F 5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Further down the beach, I spotted a Reddish Egret standing near the shoreline.  We made him our next objective and got into position, hoping for some fishing action.  He then just basically stood there on one foot looking around and occasionally squawking.  After a while, I mentioned to the group that we could stay and wait for him to move or go back to the Skimmers.  He then quickly took off and headed back up the beach past the Skimmers.  My initial reaction was that he took off because I stated talking.  However, he ended up flying off to confront a White Morph Reddish Egret.  Reddish Egrets are very territorial and don’t like company when feeding.

Aperture priority, 1/500 sec @ F 9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation

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We got up and heading back up the beach towards the Reddish Egrets.  The White Morph was dancing around fishing so I focused on getting close to him.  We ended up with some great photo op’s as he was very close to shore and catching lots of fish.  Some of the group stayed with the other Reddish Egret and had a similar experience.

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F 11, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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It turned out to be a great morning at Bolivar despite the cloudy weather.  The group had a good time and hope that they got some great photos.  Didn’t get them quite wet or dirty enough but they got a good taste of the possibilities at Bolivar Flats.  Thanks to everyone who signed up for this trip and to Chris for helping me out.  I’m looking forward to next year already.

Also, special thanks to Julie Anne Brown and her team of volunteers for all of their hard work to pull off another very successful FeatherFest.  They do all of the hard work and I get to take people to play in the sand.

Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F 11, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Dance of the White Morph Reddish Egret

Being the rarest of the American herons/egrets, Reddish Egrets are listed as a threatened species in Texas.   Total population is estimated at about 2,000 nesting pairs with 5 to 10% being White Morph’s in the US.  From my experience, they are much better at fishing than Great Egrets so hopefully they will continue to make a comeback from being hunted for their plumage.  They are very active when feeding and will jump around and use their wings to help find their prey.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III telconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/3200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Focused Stare Down

This White Morph Reddish Egret was very focused as he was searching for breakfast.  Had to widen the depth of field to F11 to get his head in focus with being so close.  No noise reduction on this shot.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II head

1/800 sec @ F11, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation

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A Very Good Day

Bolivar Flats along the Gulf of Mexico in SE Texas continues to amaze me.  Made my second trip over the long holiday weekend yesterday and this one was special.  My typical goals at Bolivar include trying to find and photograph Avocets and Reddish Egrets.  All other birds are icing on the cake.  It was a target rich environment and had the opportunity to have my cake with lots of icing on top.

In my FeatherFest workshops, I stress to the participants to keep your head on a swivel and look behind you as the best shot may be there.  Took my own advice and it paid off big time on this outing.

All photos were taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.   Very little cropping on most of these photos.

Got up at 3:30 a.m. and made it to Bolivar before the sun came up.  Hiked along the beach to check out where the birds were located and saw this Great Blue Heron flying by.  Picked up my rig, including the ground pod, and got a series of blurred flight shots.  Got a nice blurred wing spread when he landed.

1/20 sec @ F16, ISO 1600, +2/3 exposure compensation, evaluative metering, handheld

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Worked my way down the beach and saw a group of White Pelicans, Gulls and Avocets in the distance.  Didn’t see a practical way to get close to them so headed to one of my favorite spots and settled on a small sandbar just off shore within reach of a Reddish Egret.  Got a few shots of him dancing around when the tide came in and the sand bar went under water.  Decided to stay put and laid in the water waiting for some more bird action.  Patience paid off as I heard a group of three American Oystercatchers coming in for a landing near by.  Got off my first shot as this one was landing and he gave me a very nice wing spread.  They only hung around for a couple of minutes and took off.

1/640 sec @ F7.1, ISO 4000, +1 1/3 exposure compensation, evaluative metering

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Looked behind me and saw a Reddish Egret dancing in the distance so headed back in that direction.  Saw what I thought was a Snowy Egret and decided to lay down and get a few silhouette shots.  Discovered that he was actually a White Morph Reddish Egret, which ended up providing some great shots over the next hour.

1/4000 sec @ F9, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Followed this White Morph back to near my original location when a Reddish Egret flew in and scared him off.  After the Reddish Egret didn’t do anything but stand there, turned around to see that the White Morph had landed back in the area where I first spotted him.  Moved my position again and ended up working his way back towards me.  Got some of my best White Morph shots as he danced around.  I’ll post some more shots of him later.

1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 800, +1 exposure compensation, evaluative metering

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After the White Morph walked passed me, heard a familiar bird and looked behind me to see a single Avocet starting to feed along side a Yellow Legs and a Willet.  The challenge at this point was to rotate around in the wet sand without spooking him.  The Avocet kept moving back and forth and got close enough for some head shots.  This one is uncropped.

1/400 sec @ F16, ISO 800, evaluative metering

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A very good day indeed.


Reddish Wing Stretch

This Reddish Egret was getting some stretching exercises in at Bolivar Flats.  Always a good time.  Hope to get back there soon over the holidays.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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B&W Lift-Off

From the my last trip to Bolivar Flats, this White Morph Reddish Egret landed nearby and then suddenly took off.  The colors were muted as the sun was behind the clouds so I tried using B&W on this one.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/1000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Reddish Egret Stare Down

Here are a couple of Reddish Egret photo’s from last weekend at Bolivar Flats.  Found this bird while walking along the beach back to my car.  Wasn’t really in the mood to lay down again as my neck was hurting but am glad that I did.  He was waiting patiently for fish to swim by with his neck retracted close to his body.  He stuck it out a couple of times which made for a more interesting photo.  In the first shot, he was probably wondering who the idiot was lying on the ground taking his picture.  That would be me…

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/400 sec @ F10, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/400 sec @ F10, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Sticky Water

The chemical engineer in me wants to call this “viscous water” but I won’t go there.  Caught this White Morph Reddish Egret just at the right time when his beak separated.  Haven’t seen this before with and Egret so it made for an interesting shot.  Taken just after sunrise in the good ‘ol early morning golden light.

1/1000 sec @ F9, manual exposure, ISO 400, 700mm

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod and Wimberley II gimbal head.

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