Photographing Egrets in Yucatan, Mexico


Stephen F. Dennstedt

Photographing wildlife is one of my favorite things to do. I love getting up early in the morning, grabbing my camera gear, and arriving at my location before sunrise. However, I also love to smoke good cigars, drink Scotch whisky and look at beautiful women. I like to be well-rounded. Sometimes these activities conflict—nuff said.

I was going through some old photographs recently and came across some of a favorite bird—the Egret. I have many favorite birds: the raptors of course, the Motmot Bird (Toh Bird) which is indigenous to Latin America, Hummingbirds, Herons and of course the beautiful Egrets. I think these two images were both taken on the same morning but my memory could be faulty.

One is a large Great Egret reflecting in a lake. It had just pulled its head back out of the water after attempting a fish-strike (it failed). I particularly liked the beads of water trailing from its beak and the reflection. The soft, warm morning light was beautiful. Photographers love good light. We talk a lot about the Golden Hour, that magical light right before and after sunrise and sunset. The sun is low in the sky, soft with little contrast, and golden in color.

The second image is of a smaller Snowy Egret wading in the reeds and looking for its breakfast. Both images were taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II full-frame digital SLR camera and Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Super-telephoto prime lens. A great camera + lens combination, although both are getting a little long in the tooth. When I return to the States in March for a short visit I will be refreshing my gear with: a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera bodies and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM Super-telephoto zoom lens.


Great Egret: 1/1000s @ f/5.6 ISO 800 @ 400mm



Snowy Egret: 1/500s @ f/6.3 ISO 100 @ 400mm