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.
The eye is barely visible and feathers lack definition.
What you do get, though, are nice reflections,
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
proved to be my favorite shots, and the more abstract they became
the more I liked them until they seemed to fade into an abstract pattern not a shot of birds at all.