Despite challenging lighting and several issues at prime shooting sties, the April 14–17th tour offered excellent shooting opportunities. A little planning and a lot of luck maximized the 3 hours of sunlight. The high ISO capabilities of the newer camera bodies and careful selection of subjects and their backgrounds yielded some nice images even in low light.
The first morning shoot was at Henderson on the boat. The morning started out cloudy with occasional patches of sun. Due to the low light, we started shooting landscapes as even at extreme ISO sensitivities there simply wasn't enough light to yield sharp images with long focal lengths. This shot was created in challenging light at ISO 1600. I noticed the sun rays and made the shot but the color image was a bit flat. Using Nik Silver Effects Pro I was able to create this Black and White image accentuating the rays and boasting the contrast.
While not a great sunrise, it was good enough to create some nice images.
After shooting landscapes we photographed birds, carefully choosing our backgrounds to avoid the sky, such as this shot of a Yellow Crowned Night Heron with a Crawfish.
Sunlight was forcast for after 9 am, and on cue we had bright sun and blue skies. We had postioned ourselves at an Osprey nest and over the next several hours we visited 3 other nests, yielding some very nice shots including this one with an Osprey landing next to his mate.
Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge and the Klondike Rookery
The afternoon yielded the worst light of the tour, deep overcast skys. We visited Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge and while there were some Purple Gallinule were unable to create many good photographs, due to the suppressed lighting. On the way back we went to the Rookery in Klondike. During my scouting trip in late march there were many nesting Great Egrets and Roosting Roseate Spoonbills. Unfortunately there were only a fraction of the Egret nests and no Spoonbills, with awful light and few birds we returned to Bois Des Chenes for the evening.
Tuesday morning it was off to Millers Lake. Again light was less than ideal. Upon getting into the area of the birds, we noticed many birds foraging for food.
We also noticed a green color to the water almost like green paint. There was also a blue green material on top of the water as shown here.
Fortunately many of the birds appear to have moved to the other side of the Lake to nest and a recent report is that there many more birds on the East side of the Lake where birds had not been nesting before. Despite the delay finding the birds and the challenging light, we created some very nice images including this shot of a hovering Cattle Egrets and this shot of a Lotus Blossum.
On the way back we stopped in Ville Platte to photograph this abandoned feed store. Due to the bright overcast I bracketed 5 shots with 1 stop between shots and used HDR Effex Pro to create this image containing both a properly exposed building and cloud detail
The afternoon shoot was at Jefferson Island, again light was less than ideal, but with a high ISO shooting from land on a tripod we were able to create nice images including this shot of a Roseate Spoonbill in Flight and one of a Little Blue Heron collecting sticks.
On Wednesday morning we headed back to Henderson. Like Monday, light was bad early and we repeated the strategy, landscapes early, followed by subjects without shy as the background, and as on Monday we were rewarded with sun after 9 for Osprey.
The afternoon was spent at Lake Martin with the Sunset the finale for the trip.
It was a very successful tour despite the challenging conditions. By picking the subjects around the light and timing photographing the subjects requiring blue skys and bright sunlight, we were able to come away with some very nice photographs.