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PamelaYasminaParker

Snowy Egret Diving for Breakfast



Amazed I got this shot of a snowy egret diving for food

Amazed I got this shot of a snowy egret diving for food
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3 Comments | Report
bryanbailey
 
bryanbailey November 22, 2015
I can honestly say that I've never seen a bird composition quite like this one before. Nice capture.
eelcovanroden PRO+
 
eelcovanroden February 07, 2016
Excellent and amazing!
meganhaderphotography
 
meganhaderphotography April 20, 2017
Awesome shot!

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken in the early morning at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert, Arizona. I love this place, there is so much wildlife year round. There are seven ponds on the 110 acres of the Preserve. I'm usually at the Preserve every weekend and you never know what you are going to see. So many "lifer" birds I have seen and photographed there.
Time
I remember this day so well. This is my favorite photo to date that I have taken. It was early morning, I usually arrive at the Preserve around 6:00 a.m. when it opens. It was November and there was a chill in the air, a perfect day to take photos. I was at Pond 1 watching the Black-necked Stilts for awhile and decided to change locations. I started to the move over to pond 2 when I saw something on a log at the deep section of Pond 1 and went to investigate. There was a Red-eared Slider Turtle on the log and I started to photograph the turtle when all of a sudden this graceful Snowy Egret flew in and landed on some branches close to the Turtle. I sat down on the edge of the pond and started to photograph the Snowy Egret. It was something I have never seen before. The Egret started to circle the pond dragging it's feet in the water and diving it's head into the water fishing for food. The Egret would land and start the process all over again. It did this three times circling and diving for fish. I didn't want it to end it was so amazing to watch. I was new to photography getting my camera for Christmas and still learning Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, etc. I couldn't wait to get home to see if any of the photos I took turned out. To my surprise I captured this shot!
Lighting
I have found through my journey of photography that my heart is in Nature & Wildlife Photography. I love the outdoors and the light of the sun no matter where it is on the subject I'm shooting. This was early morning light on the Snowy Egret, the best time of the day for light. Early evening lighting is also good; for me it's the early morning "golden" light that I love. In this shot the Snowy Egret was flying into the sun highlighting the head and neck of the bird. The water glistening in the sunlight adds so much to the photo in the splash of the head and feet.
Equipment
My husband is the best. I told him that I have always wanted to be a photographer and never had the opportunity to pursue my dream. For Christmas 2014 he surprised me with a Nikon D5200 DSLR camera. I haven't put it down, every chance I get I'm out taking photos of something. My camera was a kit coming with two lenses, an 18-55 mm and a 55-200 mm. I found I couldn't get close to wildlife with my 200 mm lens so I purchased a 55-300 mm lens which I used to take this photo of the Snowy Egret. I don't us a flash especially on white birds or outside. I love to hold my camera and have yet to use a tripod when I'm out in nature. I like to sit on the ground getting to be on the same level of the wildlife I take photos of and I like to stand when I get shots of birds in flight overhead. I'm up and down so much a tripod would get in my way.
Inspiration
Loving nature and wildlife I'm always looking for action shots. It's a challenge and I love challenges. To photograph a bird in flight and capturing the eye the viewer can connect with the bird. If you can't see the bird's or animal's eye there is nothing there, no soul or life. I make sure I get the eye in focus and if all possible the gleam in the eye.
Editing
Being new to photography I was shooting in JPEG hadn't discovered RAW yet. I only had a software program that came with my computer, Photo Gallery, that allows me to crop, rotate, resize, rename and some minor adjustments. This photo is pretty much out of the camera, I did crop it.
In my camera bag
My camera bag is a backpack and I carry my two kit lenses that came with my camera along with my 55-300 mm lens and one of my favorite lenses, a fish eye lens. I also carry another camera bag for my 200-500 mm lens which is on my camera the majority of time when I'm out in nature. I also have a cloth to clean my lenses, back up battery, several 32 GB cards, my camera manual, lots of water and snacks.
Feedback
The best advice I can give to anyone interested in Wildlife Photography is to be patient; that is key. I sit on the edge of ponds for hours waiting to see what bird or birds fly in. What animal comes to the water to drink, even insects that fly by. I find a comfortable place in the shade and wait and watch. I now try to be creative in my photography not just capturing a bird sitting on a branch but to wait for the bird to do something unusual, groom, search for food, something to make the photo interesting and different from any other photo out there. I also try shooting my shots at different levels, down low, overhead or to the side. With wildlife you are lucky to get one shot, there are times your subject will sit awhile. Watching wildlife you get to know when they are going to do something. With birds you figure out when they are going to take off in flight, when they are going to flap their wings, etc. The more you know about your subject the better photos you will get. I still have so much to learn and I'm excited every time I have my camera in my hand discovering the world around me.

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