This image is nearly eleven years old and in addition to being one of my favorite bird photographs, it also represents a turning point in how I would approach wildlife photography from that point onward. Prior to this capture, my goal was always to catch clean, unobstructed, whole specimens in the image frame – preferably front lit. Pick up a copy of any field guide to birds, and you will get a taste of my ideal at the time. Landscape photography was all interpretation but wildlife photography was still documentary. This method of thinking was a creative blind spot that this image helped reveal to me.
The light is flat and unimpressive, the egret’s head and neck are separated from its body, there are distracting elements in the foreground, the background is busy. It’s a disaster.
This image was featured in my very first book, South Carolina Wonder and Light (Mountain Trail Press 2006) and will be soon reissued as an eBook with many new images as well as essays written during my days as staff writer and photographer with South Carolina Magazine.