Sunday, April 1, 2012

Greater or Lesser?

1/1250 | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | 700mm
How do you identify a bird that could either be a greater or a lesser yellowlegs? Easy, you make sure that you go shooting with Barbara and Kim :) 

This past monday, Kim, Barbara, and I spent a couple of hours at Newnan's Lake. From the moment we arrived, we were welcomed by a tricolored heron posing on a rock. I couldn't have asked for a better pose, but I would have liked a little more time and a couple more frames. I was only able to fire the shutter a dozen times before he flew off.
1/640 | f/5.6 | ISO 200 | 700mm
The light was at our back all day, so everything was evenly front-lit, just how you want it. It allowed me to keep my ISO down and my shutter speeds up, allowing me to freeze the action of a bird in flight.

Most of the afternoon was spent trying to capture images of a black-necked stilt. At first, it seemed that approach was ineffective - for every step we took to get closer, it moved twenty strides further. After some patience on our part, the stilt decided that we were no longer a threat the stilt got close enough to warrant triggering the shutter. Barbara seemed to pick up on his habits the quickest and was able to predict his take-off and landing pattern. Rightfully, she captured a stunning image of him with his bill in the water (I really love the reflection). I'll save my images for a future post, as I still have to go through them.

Alongside the stilt were half a dozen lesser yellowlegs. How do I know that they were lesser and not greater? I don't, but Kim seemed to think that they were the former, so I went with it. This was a new species for me so I quickly fired away, getting subpar images (but hey, I added one more to the list!). After getting acclimated to their behavior, I was able to anticipate when they would take off and fly just a few yards to the other side of us. One of my favorite images was this one of him banking left toward his fellow yellowleg, and away from my pair of white legs.

1/1600 | f/5.6 | ISO 200 | 700mm
By 6:30, the rays from the sun were blocked by the tall trees behind us. This meant increasing the ISO and opening the shutter a little longer. The shooting slowed down a bit until moments before we left. At this point, we had the pleasure of watching a great blue spear a fish bigger than his head. We didn't stay long enough to watch his attempt at swallowing the fish, but I can't imagine it was an easy task.
1/320 | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 500mm


  1. Great post, Miguel :)

  2. Great post, and wonderful pictures. I can't wait to see the ones of the Stilts

  3. Miguel, This is a great blog! I love the heron's tongue! I will enjoy reading this. Keep up the good work!

  4. Love your new blog! Thanks for sharing your expertise! --- Ginny