People’s Choice – Dawn’s Light

My framed print of “Dawn’s Light” received the People’s Choice award in photography at the Magnolia Art Show, Gloucester, Massachusetts.

A great egret wings its way across Essex marsh (behind Farnhams restaurant in Essex, Massachusetts) in early dawn light:

Dawn's Light

Dawn's Light

This is a very difficult picture to create. The conditions needed are high tide, sunrise, clouds, still water and great egrets that fly by at the right height above the water surface for a full reflection. The high tide at sunrise occurs only twice a month (I have them marked on my calendar).  The clouds are needed for the red glow effect. The still water is needed for a sharp reflection. Fortunately, the egrets flock to this area at this time because the fishing is best when the marsh grass fills with water at just the right depth – a few inches. This occurs at high tide. At one point I counted 7 large great egrets fishing in the marsh grass at this location – a rare sight.

The picture is actually two images photographed at the same location at nearly the same time of day (difference is minutes) under the same conditions (at sunrise). The images are merged in Photoshop to achieve the scene as seen through my eyes. A single camera and lens cannot capture this scene because a very high shutter speed and telephoto lens is required to “freeze” the egret and capture the detail, but a low shutter speed and wide angle lens is required to capture the wide landscape and color in the background. Human eyes have no problem with this conflict.

The background was shot with a Canon 24-105 f4 lens and Canon 5D Mark 2 body at sunrise (1/15 sec, f11, iso800, Gitzo tripod). The great egret with the reflection was shot with my Canon 100-400 IS lens and Canon 7D body, hand held (1/1600sec, f5, iso800).

I look forward to the day when digital camera technology reaches a point when the detail, sharpness and color can all be captured with a single camera and lens. Until that day arrives, the next best thing is to use multiple cameras, lenses and images to make the picture that is seen through the eyes of the photographer.

To quote Ansel Adams – “a picture is not taken, it is made”.

~ by richardseeley on July 25, 2011.

2 Responses to “People’s Choice – Dawn’s Light”

  1. Rich, this photo is exquisite! We also loved the plover and loon babies. Beautiful work! Elsa


  2. […] print at the show from October 8 thru November 13, 2011. View a previous post for the description Dawns Light Dawn's Light LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]


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