Coastal Birds In Gray Light

Weather forecasters! Who can trust them? The day called for a few clouds in the sky but the sun was supposed to be visible. I eagerly drove to the coast hoping to photograph ducks and other shorebirds in the warm early morning light. To my dismay, the Laguna Madre was covered in a vail of fog and the sky looked as dark as I’ve ever seen it. At 7:15 there was no sunrise. In fact, the sun didn’t peak from behind the clouds until 8:45 and that lasted only a couple of minutes. No mr. weatherman, there would be no warm light on my morning shoot but I was still in the field and I needed to make the most of the opportunity.

The ducks were plentiful but in that dreary gray light, they looked quite dull and uninteresting. I tried adding fill flash but I had not charged my batteries the night before so the use of a flash did not last long (lesson to self for next time). I added a stop of light to all my exposures to try and bring out some of the detail in the feathers, but dull light is dull light. I needed some type of action or interesting behavior.

To my good fortune, I had a reddish egret that was dancing around the shoreline fishing for its breakfast. I also had other herons fishing the shoreline so I tried to get them with fish or shrimp in their beaks. To overcome the dreary light, I would need something visually interesting occurring in the photograph. The images below are just a few examples of what I was able to come up with.

The heron and egret were photographed from the deck at the South Padre Island World Birding Center so the images could have been vastly improved if I had been at eye level with the subjects; but, I had intended on shooting ducks in flight from the deck so I had no waders with me. I am currently working on a float blind so on future outings I hope to shoot from water level. The Osprey were photographed at Laguna Atascosa NWR.  I hope you enjoy these images.

Until next time…keep shooting. –KEVIN

Reddish Egret.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Reddish Egret. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Reddish Egret.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Reddish Egret. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Reddish Egret.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Reddish Egret. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Tri-colored Heron.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Tri-colored Heron. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Belted Kingfisher. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO 640 | +1Exposure Compensation

Belted Kingfisher. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO 640 | +1Exposure Compensation

Osprey.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Osprey. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Osprey.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Osprey. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Osprey.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Osprey. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640 | +1 Exposure Compensation

Osprey.  Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640

Osprey. Canon 7D | 500mm | ISO640

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