Sunday, July 10, 2011
Dark birds, white birds
Went to the rookery on Biscayne this morning. It was busy with adult and juvenile birds and it was good to see so much activity. This particular rookery is primarily made up of the dark feathered double crested cormorant and the white feathered cattle egret. Consequently, I typically choose which of the two birds to concentrate on and set the exposure accordingly. There is about a 1 2/3 stop difference between the two (give or take a 1/3).
As the clouds dissipated and the morning sun burned through, I anchored and watched for activity. Soon, I was concentrating on several adult cattle egret and a juvenile little blue heron. Juvenile cattle egrets were hiding well today. Dark clouds covered a part of the sky offering a beautiful contrast to the white feathers. Shooting was very challenging this morning as my boat never seemed to want to stay in one place. Every few minutes or so I had to pick up the paddle and twist my boat around to get back into position. Meanwhile, a bird flies in, landing beautifully in the trees, while I am busy messing with the boat. That's how it goes.
The day was quite hot and humid and many cormorants were hanging out in the water to cool off. This became a nice photo opportunity. I changed my exposure to capture the dark birds in the glistening water. Having set the meter at about +1 stop, I had to increase the ISO to 800 in order to reach a reasonable shutter speed (1/800). The dark birds lend themselves to a high key effect on the water. I attempted to capture birds flying over water reflecting white clouds. The cormorant flies low enough to the water that you can also capture its dark reflection.
There was some activity as well. Occasionally, an adult and juvenile cormorant came into the water and the adult began feeding the baby. I captured this activity but from a great distance. Here's a shot of the adult attempting to get away from the relentless juvenile.
I also noticed some birds in the water going after branches. Here's another shot from a great distance of a cormorant with a very large branch. Not sure if it managed to get it to the nest or not.
Overall, a pretty good day on the water.