Yesterday at the Circle B Bar Reserve, Michael and I came across a group of White Ibis in my “treasure tree” along the Heron Hideout trail. I’ve had many lifers in that tree, but I almost passed it without a second glance when I saw just a few common White Ibises at the treetop. Then I noticed the moon. Then I realized I could frame a bird portrait with the moon in the background. Then the birds started flapping and I started clicking!!
I remembered to dial in a small aperture (f/45.0) so that both the bird and the moon would be in focus. My usual birding apertures, in the f/5.6 to f/8.0 range, would have rendered the moon as a slight white blur. I loved how the White Ibis’ wing stretches over the moon – it’s like he was victoriously celebrating being on top of the world!
Anhinga are often found all over the reserve, spreading their wings to dry them after a nice swim. This one was perched at the very top of the treasure tree. This was the first composition I noticed with the moon in the background. I got home and showed the picture to Rich. He immediately put on his skeptical face and asked, “is that a real picture? I know how well you use Photoshop!” I assured him that the image was real, and that I had several witnesses who saw the moon. Rich was still skeptical. Other photographers apparently are not to be trusted! So I pulled up the image on the back of my camera, straight from my Compact Flash card. My tricky husband said, “yeah, but I know your 5D III lets you combine images in camera. How do I know you didn’t do that?” Well…I guess I could have! These new fancy cameras are fun! I’m not sure I ever quite convinced Rich that this wasn’t a Photoshop job… :)
There is a downside to using such a small aperture. It yields so much of the image in focus that every single bit of sensor dust shows up in your image! I hadn’t realized how dirty my sensor was…and after the time required to clean up dust specs from these images, I will definitely be cleaning my sensor before heading back out to shoot!
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!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!