I had a few moments spare a weekend ago or so. I hadn’t been to the WWT reserve for a while, so I spent a morning wandering around and seeing what was about. Although it was relatively quiet on the bird front, I managed to get a few images I liked. The challenge of making an image in bright conditions with a blue sky and high contrast got me thinking a bit more than normal at least.

I like images that have a complete reflection of the subject and find that Herons and Little egrets work well in the high contrast situation of photographing into the light. Normally the dark area at the top of the image above would be distracting to the viewers eye, but for some reason I think it works here.

The audio recording below is one I made at the same time as the image above and below. It has more species on it than I managed to photograph, but it gives a great impression of the sounds of a tidal marsh.

[audio:http://www.gowerphotography.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/STE-051edit1.mp3|titles=morning on the marsh]

One problem I find at a lot of bird reserves is the positioning of the hides and the direction they face. At WWT National Wetlands Centre Wales a lot of the hides are south facing; directly into the light. Luckily this time of year with the sun lower in the sky it can produce some great backlit situations. In cloudier conditions, with the light more difuse, the direction of the hide doesn’t matter. High contrast lighting is alway a difficult issue to deal with and can spoil a good image. Side lighting in the image above helps provide some texture to the grasses, but makes it harder to get a good exposure on the birds without loosing too much detail in the shadows.

Nick

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