Great Egret FlyBy Series At Ding Darling NWR

I am still working on my files from our Florida photo trip a couple of months ago. Here is a series of a Great Egret flying low and slow by us early in the morning at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. I was using my backup camera, Canon 1D MkIV with a 400mm f/4 DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter.

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Great Egret Wing Positions

While I was photographing at Ding Darling NWR in Sanibel, FL, this Great Egret flew by where I was photographing White Pelicans. It flew in front of me from left to right. As I was adjusting my files I thought it would make an interesting image showing the different wing positions as it flew by.  I did not have the camera set at a high frame rate, but I thought it was still interesting.

In Camera Raw I selected the whole series, made my adjustments and opened them in Photoshop, each on its own layer in the original file. I selected the blue background and inversed the selection to select the Egret on each one. I made a new file that would fit them all in horizontally. I selected a blue sky color from the first of the series and a blue sky color from the last of the series and graduated the color from left to right for the background sky. Then added a slight bit of noise into the sky.

Now that I had my sky background, I went back to each Egret image and selected the layer of each Egret and put that Egret image in a new layer, in sequence to show the wing position sequences. If I was at a higher frame rate I would have gotten more wing positions, but I still had fun putting it together.

Great Egret – 5 Shot Egret Panorama

When I am photographing at an area in the car, I usually only use one main lens. At Brigantine I am usually using a 400mm f/4 D.O. Lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. Mainly because there is not time to switch because the subject could be gone and mostly subjects are far away. I have other equipment in the back of the van, usually with a wide angle zoom or a m43 camera with a 14mm – 140mm lens. But on the Wildlife Drive, when I come upon a subject, I do not have time to switch equipment before the subject is gone, so I make do with what I have in my hands. Many times I just shoot a multi-shot series and combine them in Photoshop. This mostly works well, plus I get a much larger file. Doing so many over the years, it seems 2nd nature now. Plus the newer CC PhotoShops work extremely well for assembling these multishot panoramas or stacked images.

 

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Great Egret Birdscape

We usually always try to photograph birds and wildlife as close as possible, trying to fill the frame with their image, or getting an interesting composition. But sometimes I like to photograph my photo subjects showing the environment they live in. Also it helps when trying to find them if you know where to look.

Great Egret Breeding Plumage

It is getting to the time of year when birds will be in breeding plumage. Which is a great time to photograph birds! Especially large wading birds. The wispy feathers and colorful lores add to the images. Looking forward to seeing what we can find. These are some from previous years.

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Great Egret Landing Sequence

It was a slow morning at the Nature Preserve, but then an Egret flew in and landed on a pile of sticks in the water. Shooting a sequence showing the different wing positions in landing.

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Great Egret In Morning Light

I found this Great Egret preening in the early morning light this morning at The Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, NJ. I like how the light was shining through the feathers giving dimension and textures from the side/backlighting. The Egret stayed for quite a while on this pile of sticks giving many photo opportunities. When time permits, if the subject is staying for a while, I try different compositions using horizontal or vertical panoramas, and/or focus blending. In time this Great Blue Heron came closer, but was too far behind to get both in focus. I shot 4 shots to create a focus stacked panorama of the two birds. I manually combined them with masks to keep the out of focus background with the bird images in focus.

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Great Egret Preening. Four Shot Panorama w/ focus blending. 2 across, 2 down. Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/11, 1/400 sec, -1.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

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Great Egret Preening. Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/11, 1/640 sec, -1.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

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Great Egret. 4 shot vertical panorama. Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/11, 1/500 sec, -1.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

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Tired of Posing. Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO lens, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/8, 1/800 sec, -1.33 exposure compensation, ISO 400

 

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