On Saturday morning, the sunrise found me out on the Wading Bird Way trail at the Circle B Bar Reserve. I was flabbergasted when my dad also arrived for the sunrise. He’s not a sunrise photographer! As the sun peeked out over the horizon, fog was settling in over the marsh. It was really thick and very pretty. My dad commented that as he approached me on the trail, all he could make out was a dark blur. The blur laid down, got up, moved, crouched down, got up, and laid down again. “Yep, that could only be my daughter!” It’s great when your dad is one of your favorite shooting buddies! :)
I enjoyed experimenting with my wide-angle lens for this sunrise. A nice raft of coots added interest, as did some flowers in the foreground (hence the lying down, to get the flowers in the shot). The rocks at the base of the culvert completed the image. I experimented with different shutter speeds, as well as some HDR. This was my favorite.
The fog can make for some beautiful bird images, too. They may not be as sharp or clear as sunny shots, but the fog adds so much mood to the image. This Glossy Ibis was trolling for his breakfast in the pond off Heron Hideout. The sun was peeking up over the trees, adding an orange cast to the fog. I got a fun one of him scratching his head, but I liked this one better for the water ripples and simple background.
I was surprised to see several Black-Crowned Night Herons posing out in the open in the fog. They are fairly common around Lake Hancock, but they don’t seem to spend much time at the Circle B Bar Reserve. I guess the fish are always tastier on the other side of the lake! This heron is in breeding plumage, with a white plume coming out of the back of his neck. I don’t see his bright blue lore, though. He sat there in the fog and watched me.
Speaking of breeding plumage, this Great Egret was all decked out with his lacy feathers and green lore. I loved how the green matched the green of the marsh grasses. He stalked his prey as I admired how he looked in the golden light of sunrise. It’s hard to correctly expose a bright white bird, especially with a contrasting background and early morning light!
The fog burns off pretty quickly as the sun rises. I made my way to the Heron Hideout trail, where a large group of white birds and Roseate Spoonbills were feeding. There must have been at least twenty spoonies! The rosies are some of my favorite birds, especially when they are in bright breeding colors.
I found a nice tree with lots of woodpecker holes, and a Red-Bellied Woodpecker was already getting one of the holes ready for his family. It’s fun to watch these guys as they stick their heads in the hole, the come out with a beakful of sawdust that falls through the air as they shake their heads. I made a little video to capture his movements and his sounds. This is the video that Goldilocks was enjoying so much a few nights ago when she helped me with my post-processing!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Circle B Bar Reserve?
Check out my Circle B Bar Reserve page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
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