01.13.19: Alone in water

Great Egret isolated in water, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.


Technical information

May 7, 2015,
10:32 a.m.

41°37'23.31" N 83°12'35.058" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 


1/1000th second


When I’m photographing birds and other wildlife I usually have one objective: Get as close as possible.

I like it when my photos show the pupils in a bird’s eye and the details in the feathers.

But this photo shows the opposite extreme. That’s why it’s classified as a landscape photograph, not a wildlife photograph, in my files.

My wife and I were walking through Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge on Ohio’s “north coast” — Lake Erie — during my annual spring visit to the area to photograph migrating warblers and other birds. 

We had reached the area where Crane Creek, which winds through the refuge, widens as it nears where it flows into the lake. That’s where I saw this lone Great Egret perched on a submerged sandbar. It was quite a distance from my location, probably more than 150 yards away. Even with my super telephoto lens I use for wildlife photography the egret was tiny in the viewfinder.

But I was intrigued by the scene itself.

I liked how the bird and the vegetation on the sandbar contrasted with the blue of the water. Even more, I liked the linear, layered nature of the scene — the line of vegetation leading to the egret, the band of yellow-green grass at the top of the scene. So I captured a few shots showing this large, distant bird before returning to my primary objective: close photos of small birds.

Great Egrets are large birds, slightly smaller and slimmer than the Great Blue Heron. The Great Egret was hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s because of the popularity of their plumes in fashion. This led to conservation efforts and creation of some of the first laws to protect bird populations

The Great Egret is also the symbol of the National Audubon Society.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.