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American Bittern bokeh
American Bittern bokeh

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Free Study 2009-07 (Advanced Editing VII)
Collection: 2009 Challenges
Camera: Nikon D40
Lens: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
Location: outside of Merrickville
Date: Jul 21, 2009
Aperture: f5.6
ISO: 800
Shutter: 1/50
Galleries: Humorous, Nature
Date Uploaded: Jul 31, 2009

Shooting this guy was an unexpected bonus. Ryan and I were shooting osprey and visiting several osprey nesting sites when we began to explore the grounds around the last site we visited. We found a little bower and were shooting in there, and koi in the pond, when suddenly on the opposite side of the pond, a small batch of cattails began to move...and bend...as something climbed up the stems...at first I thought a muskrat, but then saw it was a bird, thought maybe a marsh hen. Ryan scooted around first and got the first few shots, then waved me over.

When I came around and saw him for myself I was amazed to see it was a bittern, a small heron that linves in reeds and relies on camouflage as a defence mechanism. I recognizd him only from one picture I'd seen in a Time/Life book on North American birds that my parents owned (and probably still do). So we snapped his pic for a good 30 minutes or so until he began to look pissed off, so we bade him good night and left.

pp: RAW-TIFF, crop, satuartion, contrast, resize, usm, sharpen edges, save for web

Place: 307 out of 419
Avg (all users): 5.3020
Avg (commenters): 6.6667
Avg (participants): 5.3158
Avg (non-participants): 5.2571
Views since voting: 600
Views during voting: 220
Votes: 149
Comments: 6
Favorites: 1 (view)

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08/11/2009 05:52:07 PM
What I liked about this was the blade kind of bisecting or merging with the beak. Then as you stare at that, the two eyes pop out at you. Then you start to wonder where the beak really is lol. Cool capture.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/10/2009 07:50:58 PM
What a beautiful and natural photo (not over-enhanced, saturated, layered, masked, etc., etc., etc.) of a wonderful and unique natural behavior of a hard to see bird in its natural habitat. Congratulations! It's a perfect shot and I'm in awe of how you managed to get the eye of the bird perfectly in focus through the reeds. Would love to peel back that one blade and see the bird's face, but that is nature for you--the bird is doing his job well and it only leaves you curious for more.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/09/2009 10:01:04 AM
Hi from the CC CLub,

Well, peek a boo to you too!!

I really like this shot, I like the fact that there are reeds in teh way of his face. Now the reason she is doing that, is she has noticed a predator (ie You) and is trying to be a bulrushes. They stick their heads up like that and blend into the background and become very still until they sense the danger is over.

Oh the photo, well, it is a very good capture of something that hides a lot and a rare to actaully see. The bird is in sharp clean focus and the eyes are brilliant as they pop right out. The bokeh is a little underwhelming because of the strong foreground. In PP a little D and B on teh feathers, especially teh whites may have brought this out a little more.

This shot will not do so well on DPC as it is not isolated, too much stuff in front of it etc. But you give this to any bird lover and they will think you are the bee's knees.

Well done on this excellent capture

Message edited by author 2009-08-09 10:02:45.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
08/07/2009 08:17:10 PM
Not quite well enough camouflaged! Love those eyes :-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/06/2009 03:08:03 PM
The European bittern is incredibly rare in Britain, and it looks as though its American cousin is just as shy. Despite the fact that the bird is masked by the rushes, an extremely well taken nature photograph, that shows the photographers understanding and knowledge of the bird's behaviour.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
08/04/2009 08:46:44 AM
I just wish we could see more of the bird
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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