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!