These egrets will sit on trees to preen while keeping an eye on the fishermen and their catch.
I took this at a bayou that is also a state preserve. Florida preserves give wildlife a safe place to thrive outside of the urban sprawl. Egrets are opportunists that adapt to just about anything. Often I’ll see them on the front lawn looking for lizards. It’s not uncommon to see them perched on the roof of a car.
However, just because they adapt doesn’t mean they’re not skittish. If you get too close, they’ll fly away, so I had to keep a comfortable distance to capture this photo. That meant using a 70-200mm lens with a 2x converter for a total of 400mm. It’s rare that I carry that combination, but I’m glad I did on this day.
The other evening I was standing along Sarasota Bay and there were all types of birds by the waters edge. This egret was picking through grasses exposed by the low tide. Egrets are accustomed to humans and will come quite close without feeling threatened. However if you’re fishing it’s a different story altogether. They have no problem walking right up and stealing fish or bait right at your feet.
This one thought I might be fishing and came to investigate. When he realized I didn’t have a net he lost interest. In this moment he seemed to lose interest and hop a few meters down the shore.
I love animals very much and tend to anthropomorphize them. For instance I would say this little fella is striking a pose, deciding on his next move. If they squawk I’ll attribute it to human emotions, as though they are complaining or mad about something. I do that with wild animals all the time and especially with my own pets. Sometimes if I talk to animals they’ll take an interest in me and look back quixotically. That’s because they’re not sure what to make of a crazy human like me. At least my dog understands me, but that’s another story.
I’m not so much of a wild life photographer, but I do like capturing birds along the shore, especially here in Florida. There are a lot of egrets and herons that make for good subjects with their graceful poses and antics. But real wildlife photographers are a different bred, they are patient and calculating, and will end up with spectacular shots of nature. Me, I’m more of an opportunist; I’ll capture the wildlife if I happen to be in the right spot at the right time.
Recently I drove to the beach to take pictures when the moon was nearly full. In places like Bradenton Beach there aren’t many lights so a bright moon will cast a shadow. It makes for an eerie light as though in a dream. When the moon is absent you cannot even see to the end of the pier.
The egret here stood at the end of the pier while I setup the tripod and captured this long exposure in the soft glow. He remained still during the exposure because he was watching for a fish below. It seems these birds have very good eyesight.
I take pictures at all times of day, but given a preference I’ll choose low light. The world takes on a different quality and things become more interesting. For instance I wonder what it would be like to go back in time and take picture before everything was so populated. However at night we get to see a little of what that might look like. There are fewer people out so there is an opportunity to experience crowded spaces without people. Perhaps a hundred years ago I would have seen the same thing.
People in photos add a human element and we easily relate to that. Sometimes landscapes or seascapes without people work as well. Having said that there was a couple that walked on to this pier while I stood here taking pictures of the heron. It was just dark enough that they didn’t seem to notice what I was doing, so as soon as the heron flew away I took pictures of them as well. I’ll post that on another day as a different interpretation of the same scene.
This is an example of what happens when you just sit still and let things happen. I sat here on the shore of Tampa Bay watching the sunrise. I wasn’t doing much, just sitting and watching when all of a sudden this egret landed only a few feet from me. He didn’t seem to mind me as long as I didn’t make sudden movements.
Egrets are one of the more adaptable birds to human activity. It’s not unusual to see them in the parking lot of a grocery story. In fact one day I had one on my windshield when I pulled into a parking stall. I think they’re the graceful cousins of seagulls.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m no expert on birds. However living in Florida you get exposed to them all the time. And in many cases they can enhance an image.
I’ve seen real bird photographers, they’re the ones walking around with the big ten-thousand dollar lenses. To get a closeups of a bird from any distance takes “big glass”. I on the other hand only take images of birds if they happen to be there. I’m not sure I have the patience nor time to devote to wildlife photography.