No visit in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve or the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Southern California is complete without a photo of a Snowy Egret. I have photographed this beautiful bird many times before and the question at another visit is always, how can the previous results be improved? The answer lies first in a review of older images. Do I need improvement on the technical side (i.e. sharpness)? What was missing? What kind of shot would I like to make? For the Snowy Egret I found out that I have plenty of images showing the bird standing in the water or walking along the shore and looking out for little fish to catch. This is how we see the egret the most and I can tell you, I added some more photos to the library that show the bird just doing this. What I didn’t shoot before was an egret preening its feathers. This is a great gesture that tells a story about this bird.
In harsh light exposing strictly for the highlights on the white egret darkens the background but I used it too my advantage because it also hides some mud and clutter that would otherwise distract from the subject of the photo. Sure, this can be done in post process at home on the computer but getting it right in camera is the real deal for me.