Two (mostly) White Birds In Flight

Two keepers of two different species in flight within seconds of each other is a rarity for me. Perhaps this is the only time it’s happened.


1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

A Snowy Egret in flight at Bear River MBR late this past August with the colors of reflected vegetation in the water as the background. My favorite aspect of this shot is the feather detail in the white plumage of the egret. Those whites are so bright (they definitely earn the “Snowy” part of their common name) that it’s very difficult to get good detail, especially in flight when lighting conditions often change so fast. Except for a relatively small area of the right wing I have good feather definition, particularly in the wing primaries, and that seldom happens for me with this species in flight.



1/6400, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

And only seconds before the previous egret photo was taken I got some shots of an American Avocet in flight. Avocets are fast and erratic in flight making them a very difficult subject. I can think of only two other times when I kept any flight shots of an avocet. I find it ironic that they’re so common around here and easy to photograph in the water but next to impossible to capture in flight.

For some reason this background really appeals to me.

I’d like to apologize to my readers for posting so many older photos recently. We’re in a weather pattern of warm overcast days and have been for weeks so decent morning light just isn’t happening. It’s largely a waste of time (and gas) to drive to my birding spots and then just delete all my photos because of crappy light so I’ve been staying home and stewing in my juices with cabin fever.

Hopefully this weather pattern will break soon.




22 comments to Two (mostly) White Birds In Flight

  • Tammy

    I love this blog. Your photos are amazing. I love that you share how you got the shots you got. I would love to subscribe.

  • Charlotte Norton

    Fantastic flight shots Ron!


  • April Olson

    Nice feather detail on the egret. I have spent many times practicing different settings on egrets and pelicans in dark locations trying to pop those white details

    Not only is the weather poor for photos but it has been the most birdless winter I can remember. I took a friend to Salt Creek on Friday afternoon, we had lovely light but not a bird on the water. I have never seen it so bird free!

  • Patty Chadwick

    FTwo beauties….love the wing positions in both. I can never see enough egret images!

  • Dick Harlow

    Love the Egret photos, just beautiful!
    Yup, been there with the weather, not as bad now, I understand fully!
    I thought Utah was getting snow/rain, not so?

  • Joanne OBrien

    These older photos are new to me and so gorgeous! It’s always a pleasure to look at your work.
    It’s been a photo-bust around here too. It seems every time I get a day off from work it’s raining or overcast. I’ll go out anyway because I love to hike and I get very poor images. I have a 7D (inspired by you) and a 100-400mm lens with extender. I have heard that the full frame negative of the 5D would give me better quality images on these gray low light days. There seems to be so many of these gloomy days around these parts even in the summer. What do you think of the 5D? Or do you not have to worry too much about this issue because out West you get so much more sunny days than us overall?

    • Joanne, They’re new to you because I’ve never posted them before. I just called them older because they weren’t taken in the last few weeks.

      I have no experience with the 5D. Personally I prefer cropped frame cameras for birds (the 5D is full frame).

  • Judy Gusick

    The detail on the Egret is wonderful! White, particularly with a darker background, is a challenge. The background just suits the Avocet….the upturned bill always seems a bit out of place on an otherwise sleek bird 🙂 Cabin Fever does come with the territory this time of year – hopefully you’re getting some snow to make it half tolerable 🙂 We caught a bit of a break from the cold/snow/clouds tho they’re back for a bit with little snow to “make up for it”

  • Marty K

    I have absolutely no problem seeing beautiful bird photos of any kind, even if they’re “vintage!” 😉 Both backgrounds appeal to me. I like the vertical “striping” behind the egret and the egret’s interesting wing position.

    Hopefully, you’re able to get out among ’em soon — more for your own sanity than for our viewing pleasure. 🙂

  • Svetlana

    Thank you Ron for your photos and explanations. They are very valuable for my learning and they encourage me to go for photography and try again and again.

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