Golden Hour BIFs and Perched Bird Details (6/14/21)

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zackiedawg Forum Pro • Posts: 34,192
Golden Hour BIFs and Perched Bird Details (6/14/21)

Picking up where the last post left off, shooting on a beautiful February 20th this past winter - as the afternoon transitioned into the beautiful golden hour before sunset I had been getting ready for more BIF shooting.  The birds are actively bringing home food or nest supplies, and returning to roost for the night, so that final hour of daylight gets quite busy.  But that beautiful late afternoon light also does a nice job popping the colors and feather details of the non-flying birds too, so I couldn't help but occasionally shoot them too.

All of the following shots were taken with the A6600 and the FE200-600mm G OSS combo, handheld, shot in JPG, and are posted at 1800 pixels on the long side if you view them in original size:

This osprey flying off with only half a fish had just been attacked by a vulture, who decided to use its size to overwhelm the osprey in hopes it would abandon its meal - the osprey left behind the fish's head, but managed to get away with most of the rest of the meal, and was looking for a new spot to eat in peace

I didn't mention alligators in the title...but I'm throwing this fellow in - at that late hour, the sun was not reaching the waters below, and this guy was resting almost under the boardwalk I was standing on - I needed ISO 4,000 to shoot him, but it was nice to be able to see down under the water for some additional details

That wonderful light comes in handy with these boat-tailed grackles on the handrail - mostly looking all black, their feathers are very iridescent when the light hits them, and they become quite colorful for an all black bird!  The one in front is trying to show off - the males were all challenging each other for who gets the ladies

Eventually the challenger gave up, and the one in back was able to claim the turf as the big man of the handrail.

It's not hard to figure out why the yellow-rumped warblers are nicknamed 'butterbutt', as the sun lights up that pat of butter on his rear end

A bird that doesn't really need any sun to help it look colorful, the lovely roseate spoonbill looks like it could provide its own illumination in a dark cave at midnight.  The glossy ibis in the background seems to be looking on with mild jealousy

No, someone wasn't on drugs when they named this bird a 'little blue heron'!  This is the juvenile flying by - they start out all white then transition into their dusky blue color

The already elegant great blue heron becomes even more so during breeding season, as the lore around the eyes turns green and the long feathers grow on their backs.  Throw in some late afternoon light, and a clear blue sky, and they're quite a lovely sight

Even when the birds aren't in the sun's rays, the backgrounds are still lovely and warm - this great egret was flying down low over the water bringing sticks back to its nest spot, but the shaded waters were picking up the fall reflections of the background (Florida only has two seasons: Summer from March 15 to December 15, and Fall from December 16 to March 14).

As he rose to land on his nesting island, he jumped into the spotlight...this is what you call an exposure challenge, following a bird from shadows into bright sun!

Another boat tailed grackle sitting atop a tree, looking out over the wetlands

A male anhinga flying towards its nest island, and passing another island full of birds in the background.  Anhingas will often call out before they arrive, to let everyone know they're coming in to land

The tricolored herons also are dressed up and made up for breeding season - this one coming in to land in front of me is showing the blue bill and red eye that they develop when breeding, as well as the legs which turn red

Another tricolored heron all colored up, this one flying nice and high against the clear blue sky

The glossy ibis comes off from a distance as an all brown bird...but the black underwings and iridescent feathers that light up in reddish tones underneath and greenish tones on top makes them a much more vibrant looking bird in the sun

Comments, questions, and critique welcomed and encouraged as always.

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 zackiedawg's gear list:zackiedawg's gear list
Sony a6600 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake +21 more
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