There are a few reasons I've chosen this photo of a Great Blue Heron in Everglades as the photo of the week. First, this photo just feels like it was taken in the early hours of the day; the water is perfectly calm, the colors are still very muted and cool, and then in the upper right hand corner of the shot, the colors are bright and red with the sunrise. The second reason is because this shot feels very much like a national park shot, especially the wooden walkway jutted out into the water, a feature so frequently found on a nature loop. The main reason for selecting this shot though, is the bird.
My initial thought about this shot and the bird was, "I wish the photographer had used a flash, to illuminate detail on the bird". But, having looked at the photo again and again, I think I now like it better this way. This has a very natural feel to it. As mentioned earlier, the shadow detail gives it a strong sense of early morning. Perhaps with the front-fill flash, the bird would have looked stunning, but I imagine our inner eye would tell us something was artificial (especially because the sun is behind the bird). As it is, the heron in silhouette against both the sky and water works very well.
The photographer, James Good, has a few great shots of the Everglades taken on this particular morning. In fact, I nearly chose this one for Photo of the Week, before going with this heron shot. James describes the shoot:
Sunrise along the Anhinga Trail, Royal Palm, Everglades National Park. There were a few photographers out there, but everyone was being very respectful of the amazing scene around us. Lots of wild-life activity, mainly birds but there were many splashes in the water too. It was around 65-70 degrees F I think.
Sounds like a good reason to crawl out of bed early. Thanks for the great shot.
Extra Photo Detail (EXIF data)
Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.05 sec (1/20)
Focal Length: 18 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Date and Time: March 10, 2007; 06:31:49
18 mm? Wow, that bird must have let him get pretty close.