Florida…Just Add Water

After days of being pummeled with gale force winds and dozens of inches of rain by Tropical Storm Debbie, Florida began to emerge from cover.  In just a matter of days, the severe drought conditions that Florida has faced for the last few years turned into flooding with standing water everywhere.  As the weather improved birds emerged from the protected areas they had found to hunker down in and headed straight for the water, any water.  So, we found a nice little pond and spent the afternoon photographing the variety of birds that visited.

A Great Egret strolled by…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, TC-14E II ISO 400 f8 @ 1/1000

 

White Ibis flew in at mach speeds with a tail wind pushing them…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, TC-14E II ISO 200 f6.7 @ 1/750

 

They came to hunt for a meal…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, ISO 400 f6.7 @ 1/250

 

While on alert to their surroundings for predators…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, TC-14E II ISO 800 f8 @ 1/500

 

A Great Egret seemed to be having the best luck catching fish…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, ISO 800 f8 @ 1/750

 

It even caught a turtle that it worked for quite awhile before finally swallowing it shell and all…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, TC-14E II ISO 400 f8 @ 1/1000

 

We observed juvenile Little Blue Herons from totally white (first year) to a calico (turning into adult plumage)…

Nikon D4, AF-S 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 VR ISO 200 f8 @ 1/250

 

A Great Blue Heron postured when other birds came to close to “his pond”…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, ISO 800 f8 @ 1/750

 

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, ISO 800 f8 @ 1/750

 

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR ISO 800 f8 @ 1/750

 

His dancing made me think about my own dance I needed to do with my aperture, shutter speed and ISO to capture the image in sharp focus, stop movement and with a softly blurred background.  I chose a wider aperture to keep the background blurred which provided some of the light I needed for a fast shutter speed.  I also increased my ISO to get even faster shutter speeds to be ready for that lightning moment when my subject goes in for the kill…

Nikon D4, AF-S 600mm f4 VR, ISO 800 f8 @ 1/750

 

One line in the recipe for great bird photography reads “Just Add Water and wait.  The birds will come to you.”