Great Egret. Sacramento Valley, California. January 8, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A great egret in flight against cloudy sky
This particular egret and I shared a few brief seconds of photography as the bird suddenly emerged, already in flight, from a brushy area along the edge of a pond at a Sacramento Valley wildlife refuge. In most ways, the egrets are at their most graceful while in flight, but this is when they are also the most difficult to photograph. Usually they take off and fly away from the photographer, and they are soon too far away to photograph. This one, however, flew parallel to my position and gave me a good side view. I only had a brief interval to raise my camera, find the egret in the viewfinder, and track it as I squeezed of a sequence of photographs.
I shared another one a few days ago. I interpreted that one in black and white, so I thought I’d work this one out in color. There was a great deal of softness in the original image — while parts of the wings are in focus, the large aperture and motion of the bird left other parts soft. So I decided to go with that soft effect and, in fact, amplify it and to then also go with a bit of a high key treatment, further emphasizing the brightness of the bird against a bright, cloudy sky.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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