A great egret perches in early morning light, Redwood Shores, CA. Egrets and herons are probably the first and most popular birds photographed by beginner bird photographers. They are large, slow moving, and in some areas very numerous, making them easy targets. While I try to focus on scarcer species, I will take the occasional photo if I can work with beautiful lighting to help the shot stand out.
Here I found a great egret before sunrise, perched on a small branch in the middle of a pond. He was ready to do some early morning fishing, and was waiting patiently for the sun to rise. I decided to wait with him. As the glow of the sun coming over the horizon behind us struck the water beyond the egret, I knew I was in for a color treat. Because the egret was still in shade, his white feathers were reflecting the cool blue hues off the shaded water. At the same time, the ambient light began to take on the orange glow of the water beyond, and his feather patterns showed both blues and oranges at the same time, forming in long vertical bands down his back. I took several safety shots, and when he turned his head in my direction, I knew I had the shot I wanted.
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