Golden Hour BIFs and Birds (200-600mm) 1/27/20

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 32,294
Golden Hour BIFs and Birds (200-600mm) 1/27/20

Back to the wetlands wildlife with my next post - working my way through a stack of shots from an incredibly busy and lovely day of shooting on January 5th - a cooler day, with abundant sun and no rain - so I was able to spend the entire day from 11am until sunset out shooting.  Today's collection is all birds, both on the ground and in the air - getting into some serious BIF action this time of year and really getting to test the big lens for BIF work, which I didn't plan on initially (I had a sense from full-frame forum talk that the focus might be a touch slow for some challenging BIFs and that 600mm might be tough for framing and panning - but none of that has proven to be true).

The shots shared here were all taken at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, over a 1 hour period between 4pm and 5pm.  It may be hard for some to imagine a place so dense with birds and BIFs that one can spend 1 hour, and move back and forth about 100 feet, and get this much action - but that's south Florida in the winter, and that's Wakodahatchee during winter nesting season.

All shots taken with the A6600 and FE200-600mm lens, handheld, shot in JPG, and posted at 1400 pixels on the long side if you click the originals:

Lets start with a lovely green heron, on display with his beautiful colors and patterns in perfect late afternoon golden sun

A slightly wider crop, as the colors of the wetlands were beautiful too - the greenery catching the sun and the waters reflecting the blue sky

I pulled back to get some of his reflection and more of that blue sky reflection

600mm comes in very handy for a small bird perched 70 feet away...with my 100-400mm I wouldn't have bothered to try for this eastern phoebe, but with 600mm, there's still room to crop in tighter and get some details on the little guy

600mm is also useful when the local cooper's hawk comes flying high overhead in the clear skies, hoping to catch a bird unaware to swoop down on

You saw the green heron in compacted, short-neck mode - here's one that was upset at another bird and had extended his neck, stuck up his head plume, and flapped his wings out to drive the offender off with shrill calls and clucks

Shooting towards the sun is supposed to be a photography no-no - but breaking the rules can be rewarding sometimes - with this great blue heron all spread out to land, I liked the reduced contrast, points of light glints and slight back-glow in the bill.  Another example of 600mm coming in handy as he was quite far away too

A female anhinga cruising past - using those wide square wings and big side tail for some nice glide time

A cattle egret passing by too, but more actively using those wings to get some speed

Well, Mr. green heron still hadn't settled down, and decided there was someone else to be upset about - off he went, screaming and clucking

A lovely little blue heron came in to land right where I was facing, and with the light at the perfect angle - they aren't really 'colorful' being mostly one color, but that subtle blue-grey with shades and washes of maroon has an elegant look

Gear down, wings back, flaps down - slowing and ready for touchdown

A pair of black-bellied whistling ducks on approach

And another pair flying low over the greenery, looking for a spot to land, but not happy with any of the selection so far

One more whistling duck, flying past the trees and making a close pass by me, showing the underside colors, including the black belly that gave them part of their name

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed as always.

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