Egret in Flight

A couple of days ago I went out to a number of potential birding spots to see what I could photograph. I was hoping to capture an egret or two at a shallow pond less than 10 minutes from my home. Lady Luck smiled upon me and I was able to photograph an egret in flight.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-280

It was quite a nice morning with good light and no wind, allowing me to cautiously approach the egret to capture the image above. I knew that as soon as it noticed me it would likely take flight so I adjusted my settings accordingly (AF-C with subject tracking, 20 frames per second, Manual mode with Auto-ISO 160-6400, VR off). I also shortened my focal length to allow for the wingspan of the egret.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 229 mm, efov 618 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-360 (Frame 12 in the AF-C run)

Sure enough, as I began to move in closer the egret spotted me and took flight.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 229 mm, efov 618 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-360 (Frame 13 in the AF-C run)

I quickly fired off my AF-C burst but unfortunately I didn’t frame the first few photographs quite right. Nevertheless I did get some nice images further into the AF-C run as illustrated in this article.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 229 mm, efov 618 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-360 (Frame 14 in the AF-C run)

Large birds like egrets and herons often like to take off into the wind to get a bit more flight leverage.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 229 mm, efov 618 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-450 (FrameĀ  27 in the AF-C run)

Luckily for me there was no breeze. As the egret was taking its second wing beat its body dropped down slightly causing its feet to drag along the surface of the water.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 229 mm, efov 618 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-400 (Frame 28 in the AF-C run)

This added some action detail to several of my photographs which created more drama in the images. This is my favourite image from the AF-C run.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 229 mm, efov 618 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-400 (Frame 29 in the AF-C run)

You’ll notice that when using a fast frame rate of 20-fps there is only a modest amount of difference in the wing positions in successive images when photographing a large bird with slower wing movements.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm @ 229 mm, efov 618 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-400 (Frame 30 in the AF-C run)

I captured another 10 photographs before my buffer filled. There were some distracting reflections on the surface of the water towards the end of the AF-C run which made the images unusable.

Capturing this series of photographs of the egret taking flight was a great way to start my morning. The other stops I made at other locations later that day were not very fruitful.

Technical Note:
All photographs were captured hand-held using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6, and the Nik Collection.

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2 thoughts on “Egret in Flight”

    1. Thanks Joni, I’m glad you enjoyed the images! We do get some egrets up here in Southern Ontario but they can be somewhat difficult to find. Often times even if we do spot them we’re too far away to get any decent photographs.
      Tom

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