Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 2011 "Photo of the Month"

Great Egret Stalking on Lemon Island

I was working from a photo blind on Lemon Island when this Great Egret landed right in front of me. I had been shooting Blue-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser and Bufflehead when she passed before me in hot pursuit of small baitfish.  I had everything I look for when composing environmental portraits … strong graphics, good light and interesting subject matter. The warm, soft glow in this image was provided by early morning sunlight, and the surrounding black needlerush provided color, texture and design as well as habitat.  All I had left to do was check my camera settings and click away.

While I grumble about my time spent sitting in a photo blind, the opportunities make up for the restrictions.  For undisturbed animal behavior, there is no better way to capture images than with total concealment.  Another advantage the blind provides is a single focused attention through the lens - which becomes almost meditative.  And nothing in the field of view escapes you.

PHOTO TIP:  To avoid loosing detail when whites and blacks are in your image, always check the exposure your camera is giving you.  You can do this by taking a test shot, reviewing the histogram, and also the LCD screen. Your camera meter averages all light values to give you a neutral grey and it depends on how much of the viewfinder the white or black occupies to determine how you’ll have to compensate. If using a spot meter, it will turn white to grey and black to grey so you would want to overexpose whites and underexpose blacks until you have the correct exposure. When using matrix or center-weighted metering, it will be the opposite adjustments. To be sure that your images are properly exposed use both the histogram and the LCD, then make whatever adjustments are needed. Learning to read the histogram is well worth the time. 

To view additional images by Eric or to learn about his Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris, please visit

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