I headed out early a couple of Friday's ago and stopped at Younger Lagoon Reserve.  The Lagoon is located North (or as locals say West, more on that in later posts) of Santa Cruz and near Natural Bridges State Beach.  This is one of the few relatively undisturbed wetlands remaining on the California Central Coast and most of the time there is water in the Lagoon because of a freestanding sea wall at the ocean.

Since it was very foggy, I set my top ISO to 2500 and turned on image stabilization or what Nikon calls Vibration Reduction (VR).  I opened the aperture to full open (f/4.8 with the TC attached) and adjusted the shutter speed (1/500s) as low as I was comfortable to go since the egrets were moving around.  As I was scanning the Lagoon, I heard some squawking so I looked over at the egrets to find two of them displaying and posturing.  As I watched the show through the view finder, I was taking photos throughout the display.  I didn't think I would get much out of the series since the light was very low because it was early and the sun just started to rise and having to use a low shutter speed because of the fog.  Although not portrait quality photos, I did capture the interaction between the two egrets.

 
Photo of the Week 6: Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm with 1.7x TC    Taken: 8-8-14 7:12 Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on     Condition: Very Foggy

Photo of the Week 6: Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm with 1.7x TC    Taken: 8-8-14 7:12

Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on     Condition: Very Foggy

 

The Snowy Egret, like most herons, was hunted for their plumage to a threatened status in the 1800s.  The feathers were used in women's hats, makes you wonder about what we think about nature's importance.  With the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the Snowy and other Herons have recovered.  We are lucky in Santa Cruz to have them as a permanent residence and they can be found all year long along the California coast.  They breed throughout the west and southern parts of the US and can be found throughout the US during migration.  There is evidence that a nesting pair greeting ceremony is because they cannot recognize each other.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Setting: 500mm, f/4.8, 1/500s, ISO1400, VR on

Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other questions leave me a message.

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