Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chincoteague NWR, VA pt2


What's neat about shooting at Chincoteague is getting to see some new behavior.

On a previous trip I was watching the herons and egrets and noticed how the gulls group up with them. The gulls don't seem to bother the herons and egrets much but they do key off of them - some times stealing their catch. What was interesting to watch though was how the gulls imitate the snowy egrets. The egrets will use their feet to stir up the bottom and get critters to reveal themselves. I saw a gull using its feet in the same way, it had to have learned it from the herons and egrets.

Shooting across from the visitors center out near the beach is surprisingly good. I would have thought the traffic or other visitors might detract, but it worked well.

I have this low LL Bean chair, it sits about 4 inches off the ground and makes for a nice seat to use and stay low, and off the sometimes wet/muddy ground.

One thing that I try to avoid is shooting from head high, tripod high, for no reason. Often I will collapse the legs on my tripod to the shortest height and then sit down, or I will extend the legs just slightly and kneel or crouch. I've only gone in to a full horizontal shooting stance a few times, but getting that low makes a difference. The two main things are the angle is more intimate, being closer to the subject, and the other thing it does is makes me less imposing - so I am not towering over a 1 feet subject standing 6 feet tall. Staying low can make a big difference like this. A couple of trips about at Chincoteague I slid closer to a group of herons and got within 20 or 25 feet of them. THey knew I was there but over time I slowly got closer and didn't trigger their fear and they stayed put, hunting, unbothered. When I was done shooting and stood up - every bird flew away. Many came back as I walked away, but that just shows the contrast of standing vs. sitting and the way birds might respond.

This Redish Egret had just caught and ate a crab - and then proceeded to stick its head underwater so it could slowly look for the other bits (legs and claws). It was neat to see and the undisturbed water made for some nice reflections...

Chincoteague NWR, VA / Jon


ToadMama said...

Not only do I love looking at your fabulous images, I really enjoy learning about new birds. I've never heard of the Redish Egret before. I LOVE the reflection shots, by the way.