As a brief follow-up to my Photographing Brown Pelicans with Tamron 150-600 mm VC article this short piece shares some images of egrets in flight. Most of the images were captured at Murrells Inlet in South Carolina. All were taken using a D800 and a Tamron 150-600 mm f/5-6.5 VC lens.
NOTE: click on images to enlarge
The number of opportunities to capture images of egrets in flight was significantly less than I found with the brown pelicans. Generally speaking the egrets tended to favour shallower water and the number of sightings seemed to ebb and flow with the tides with the highest number of photo opportunities at lower water levels. Since there is marshland surrounding the Murrells Inlet area the majority of egrets tended to stay in those outlying areas.
While a number of individual egrets would feed in the same general area they appeared to be much more territorial than the pelicans. If an individual bird got a bit too close to one of its neighbours, threatening behaviour would often erupt often causing one of the egrets to take flight. Knowing this I was able to anticipate a couple of birds taking off and grabbed some quick images.
Most of the in-flight images I was able to capture came as a result of watching birds approaching from a distance and trying to recognize the egrets based on the stroke pattern of their wings.
Generally speaking the egrets did not come nearly as close to my vantage point on the pier as the pelicans did, and the egrets seemed to be much more skittish around humans. This was also the case with birds feeding in the shallows next to the pier.
Given the distance of the birds and the fact that they were not landing proximate to me, the majority of the photos I managed to capture tended to be backlit belly-shots of them flying overhead. The light coming through their wing feathers did make for some interesting details in the photos and the back-lighting caused a halo-like outline on some of the birds.
The distance also required much more aggressive cropping than was the case with the pelican images in my previous article. I certainly was glad to have the additional mega-pixels with my D800 under these circumstances.
Even though the number of opportunities to capture egrets in flight was far fewer than was the case with the pelicans I had more time to set up my shots. I found the Tamron 150-600 mm VC focused quickly and accurately and I missed very few image opportunities as a result. Shooting in AF-C with 9-point AF with the D800 also helped me get some usable images.
Technical Note: All photographs were taken hand-held with a Nikon D800 and Tamron 150-600 mm VC lens. All images were produced from RAW files. Each was processed through DxO OpticsPro 10, a DNG file was then exported into CS6 and Nik Suite for additional adjustments as required.
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Article and all images are Copyright Thomas Stirr. No use, duplication or adaptation is allowed without written permission.