RRcoleJR_Photography
RRcoleJR_Photography

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A Great Egret (Ardea Alba) at Lucious Bayou catching a small minnow to eat in Houston Texas.

A Great Egret (Ardea Alba) at Lucious Bayou catching a small minnow to eat in Houston Texas.
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8 Comments | Report
iceman2
 
iceman2 May 13, 2014
Beautiful capture with excellent clarity!
RRcoleJR_Photography
RRcoleJR_Photography May 13, 2014
Thank you very much. You would be surprised to know that it was captured using a 34 year old Canon FD 400mm Æ’4.5 lens adapted to my OMD and taken out of a moving (a little drift and wave action) kayak.
kathymuhle PRO+
 
kathymuhle June 13, 2014
Fantastic - voted
RRcoleJR_Photography
RRcoleJR_Photography June 13, 2014
Thank you Kathy
texaaronpueschel PRO
 
texaaronpueschel June 14, 2014
Great shot.
RRcoleJR_Photography
RRcoleJR_Photography June 15, 2014
Thank you.
susanneradke
 
susanneradke August 14, 2014
A wonderful gallery you have there and a great eye for nature...
RRcoleJR_Photography
RRcoleJR_Photography August 17, 2014
Thank you very much for your wonderful comment.
Nicholasgm1947 PRO+
 
Nicholasgm1947 February 18, 2015
Really a super shot. I also do some birds and know how hard it is sometimes to catch a shot like this. You don;t get these everyday.
laurenkaymyers Premium
 
laurenkaymyers February 18, 2015
This is so stunning and sharp! Wonderful capture!!! Amazing shot.
Nansee
 
Nansee February 18, 2015
wow greqat capture
richardkam
 
richardkam February 18, 2015
marvelous capture

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Behind The Lens

Location
This photograph of a Great Egret (Ardea Alba) was taken in Luces Bayou, which is a bayou off of Lake Houston just outside of Houston Texas, from my kayak.
Time
It was taken at 4:36 pm on 19 January 2014.
Lighting
It was a bright day but the egret was in a shaded area of a small cove catching small minnows to eat. The combination of diffused light from the trees overhead and the bright sun created the perfect setting to capture this photograph.
Equipment
I use a Native Ultimate kayak for a lot of my wildlife photography, have found that I can get a lot closer to animals in the kayak than from foot. I was using my Olympus OMD E-M5 with an adapted 34 year old Canon FD 400mm ƒ4.5 manual focus lens. When shooting from a kayak you will notice the constant movement in some direction. The use of a tripod, especially with a manual focus lens, is a necessity. The camera was mounted to my tripod with the ball head fully lose so I could move the camera left and right as needed but would still maintain a constant distance to subject (which is what really effects focus). The tripod also aids with keeping the lens stable for sharper photographs. Even tho the in body image stabilization of the OMD cameras is fantastic, the tripod really helps when shooting an effective 800mm lens from a moving kayak.
Inspiration
I am a nature photographer and love photographing animals in their natural environment. I especially love capturing images of birds catching fish to eat. When I discover a bird actively feeding I will watch and photograph that bird until it leaves or stops feeding. I have watched and photographed the same bird for 6 hours, hoping to get the perfect photo. I watched this bird for about 1 1/2 hours and took over 300 photos. I set my camera for high speed shooting (on the EM-5 that is 9 frames per second) and always shoot in burst to try and catch the perfect moment.
Editing
I try to limit the amount of post-processing for my wildlife shots to keep it as natural as possible looking. Typically I will adjust levels, curves, maybe some hue/saturation along with noise reduction, sharpening and leveling as needed (all done in Lightroom and PhotoShop). I also like to use Viveza (from the Nik Collection) to help bring attention to the eyes. While I can do this in PhotoShop I find Viveza to do an outstanding job in a fraction of the time. For this photograph I applied all my normal methods from above plus I had to do some extreme adding to the top and right side of the photo. Over the course of watching the egret I had drifted pretty close and he flew towards me to catch this fish. Because of his movement and having to refocus my lens I did not get the best composition. The photo was slanted and after leveling the wings were at the very top of the photo. I extended the canvas in Photoshop and used a combination of Content Aware, Healing Brush, and Rubber Stamp Tool to add more. Normally I do not go to that extreme but this photograph was good enough for me to go beyond my normal processing.
In my camera bag
I mostly do wildlife photograph so I keep things pretty light while out photographing animals. Typically I will have my Olympus OMD E-M1 with either the M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm ƒ4.8-6.7 II (this is a recent addition to better capture the smaller birds that do not sit still long and birds in flight) or the Canon FD 400mm ƒ4.5 attached to a tripod. I also have the Olympus OMD E-M5 with the M.Zuiko ED 60mm ƒ2.8 Macro, this combination is really compact and light (when walking I carry it using a BlackRapid strap while the E-M1 and telephoto lens is on the tripod). Sometimes I bring along my M.Zuiko ED 12-50mm ƒ3.5-6.3 EZ if I think I may just want to do some landscape photographs.
Feedback
The first bit of advice I can give is to learn your camera inside and out. You want to be able to adjust anything without thinking and without taking your eye from the viewfinder. In the heat of the moment there is not time to think about how to do something or to take the camera away from your eye to adjust something. The second piece of advice is to get out there and learn the habits of as many of the animals as you possibly can. Every bird has some give away that it is about to strike at something. You need to know what that behavior is so you can be ready to take that perfect photograph. Third, always shoot burst at the fastest possible your camera is capable of. When they strike it is super fast. I have a series of photos where I processed every other photo from a set of 10 photographs. The series goes from before strike to bird swallowing fish and takes place in 1 second, to shoot one frame and get a good shot is pure luck. Fourth, you do not need top of the line pro gear to capture great photographs. This photograph was captured using a mid-level Olympus camera that I bought used and a 34 year old manual focus lens that I got for $150 on eBay. Fifth, manual focus is perfectly viable for wildlife photography. You will miss some shots and birds in flight are super hard, but adapting an old high quality (can be gotten at really low prices) manual focus telephoto lens is great way to get a foot into the door of wildlife photography.

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