Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

Last Wednesday’s trip to Vancouver was not the trip I’d hoped for. First, the sunshine that dominated the week chose to disappear for a day. So, though I got to Vancouver around 8:00 AM, the sun was hidden behind a deep layer of clouds and the best birds, like the Egrets, were so far out that I couldn’t manage to get a respectable shot even with my 500mm lens with a doubler on it.

This shot of a Great Blue Heron standing, I guess, in tall grass was one of the few shots I really liked:

Great Blue Heron

The clouds still hadn’t dispersed by the time I had to leave for lunch with former colleagues though it was hard to complain because the company and conversation was delightful as always.

Things really took a turn for the worse at the dentist’s office, though, and a 1 1/2 hour cleaning and filling turned into a 3 1/2 hour appointment with two crowns instead of a filling, not to mention a $1,000 bill instead of a$100 bill. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted by the time I left and wasn’t ready to immediately drive all the way home.

Instead, I returned to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge where I was greeted by what appeared to be an immature Red-Tailed Hawk:

juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk

The contrast with the Great Blue Heron shot taken earlier in the morning suggests just how fickle lighting can be. This one was taken in full sunshine, albeit with the sun already sinking in the horizon, and the white feathers are washed out, despite adjustments in Aperture and Photoshop.

Generally, though, the pictures I took at the end of the day in full sunshine turned out better than those taken earlier in the day under cloudy skies, even if I had to mute some elements of the picture, as I did to the very greenish water in this shot of a Lesser Yellowlegs.

Lesser Yellowlegs

The most dramatic effect of the light, though, shows up in the shots of this American Bittern, taken just before it turned dark. Here the orange cast of the late sunshine actually made the American Bittern appear more dramatic,

American Bittern

and in a few of the shots I was still able to capture the bird’s movement,

American Bittern

though the ISO in my favorite shots was so high that the noise level seemed unacceptable to me.

Thank goodness birding was good enough that I nearly forgot the dental episode because the drive home on I-5 was a virtual nightmare, with roadwork and road closures doubling the time it had taken me to get there in the morning. Fixing highways may be a good thing in the long run, but so far this year driving for any distance at all has been a real pain in the posterior.