Top Navigation  
 
U.S. Flag waving
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418
 
Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
 
Features
 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues

Bookstore
 Subscriptions
 Kindle Subscriptions
 Kindle Publications
 Anthologies
 Books
 Back Issues
 Discount Books
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

Advertise
 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

More
 BHM Forum
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Lost Password
 Write For BHM


Link to BHM

Where We Live by John Silveira and Richard Blunt. Photos and commentary from Oregon and New England.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Archive for November 29th, 2012

 

Snowy egrets of Oregon, Part 1

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

This time of year I make my morning rounds with my camera starting out with a trip to the north bank of the Rogue River, looking for elk, and ending up at the Port of Gold Beach, where I look for the resident snowy egret and the occasional great blue heron that shows up. During my tour, I may even leave town and drive up to Euchre Creek, about 10 miles north of town, or go to to Pistol River, eight miles south, and I may even go to the Lobster Creek Bridge, about 10 miles upriver. It’s usually just me and my Canon 5D Mark III camera, but sometimes a friend will accompany me. Then I go into the office.

I took a short version of the tour, alone, a few days ago. I just went to the river and the port. There was nothing worth photographing at the river but, at the port, the tide was very low and there was the snowy egret in the shallow water that’s across the road from the animal shelter. The egret was looking for whatever it is egrets eat. I’ll tell you this, though, egrets aren’t vegetarians. This one was chasing things, and weeds don’t move that fast.

I took a slew of photos as this guy literally ran through the shallow water in pursuit of its breakfast.

I used my Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM prime lens on my camera and I think I’ve said it here before that I usually set my shutter speed and aperture and let the ISO drift as it wants. And, of course, when I use a prime my focal length is fixed.

I usually shoot offhand because I’m generally too lazy to break the tripod out of the trunk, hence the fast shutter speed compensates for camera shake. But the fast shutter speed also ensures freezing the action when one of the birds spreads its wings and takes off.

One of the problems, though, is that I often like to shoot with a fairly wide aperture because I don’t always have a lot of light and opening up aperture lets more light into the camera. However, a wide aperture also results in a shallow depth of field. So, when the subject is in motion, sometimes coming towards me but more often going away, it may get out of the thin band where the image is in focus. There’s also the problem that I may not respond fast enough to the autofocus and birds, in particular, are out of that thin depth of field by the time I click the shutter. The result is that a lot of my photos are not well-focused. Just saying.

However, these photos came out pretty good including a surprise photo, the last one posted here, when I flushed a great blue heron that I hadn’t realized was there. Still, I should start shooting at narrower apertures to increase the depth of field and keep more of my subjects in focus. More of my photos would be keepers if I did.

By the way, as usual, most of these photos were cropped for the blog.

 

This is an uncropped photo and it gives you an idea of what this part of the port here in Gold Beach looks like. In the center is the snowy egret that’s taken up residence here.. When the tide is low, the water at this part of the inlet is just inches deep.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 250     focal length 400mm

 

This guy was actually sprinting through the water in pursuit of his or her grub.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 250     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 250     focal length 400mm

 

Here it had just snagged something.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 250     focal length 400mm

 

It’s spotted something else.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 250     focal length 400mm

 

It started walking out of the water. I don’t know what it was looking for as it approached the shore.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 250     focal length 400mm

 

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 320     focal length 400mm

 

It reached the shore, it looked around, then it flew to another part of the port, about 100 yards away.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 500     focal length 400mm

 

It lit here and seemed interested in the prey it found here. What I didn’t realize was that it was near a great blue heron which I hadn’t yet seen.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 500     focal length 400mm

 

Suddenly, the snowy egret took off but, as it did, the great blue heron flushed. I was just lucky to have caught it in this photo of it as it flew off across the port.

Shutter speed 1/1000     f-stop 5.6     ISO 500     focal length 400mm

 

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.