Black-Necked Stilt

The first time I stopped in the Sacramento NWR in November, I was thrilled to see flocks of Black-Necked Stilt close to the road and the observation platform. Unfortunately the sun was directly behind them by the time I got there, and I couldn’t come back the next day when there might have been better light.

So, I was looking forward to photographing them in the early morning on this visit. Needless to say, the birds were so far out the second day that I couldn’t get a good shot even with my 500mm lens with a doubler, so I had to settle for the shots I took the first day we were there — in the afternoon with the sun directly behind them.

It’s nearly impossible to get good definition under such lighting conditions, even with adjustments in Aperture and Photoshop.

Black-Necked Stilt

The eye is barely visible and feathers lack definition.

What you do get, though, are nice reflections,

Three Black-Necked Stilt

and I’m quite fond of reflections, as you well know if you visit regularly.

Though I work hard to get sharp, closeup shots of individual birds, shots of groups of these birds in the distance

Black-Necked Stilt

proved to be my favorite shots, and the more abstract they became

Black-Necked Stilt

the more I liked them until they seemed to fade into an abstract pattern not a shot of birds at all.

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