During the rainy season the sunrise over our back yard lake can be spectacular as moisture moves in from the ocean, 18 miles to the east. This iPhone shot was taken on September 9, 2014.
Walking out early around sunrise presents problems of insufficient light for photography, as I have fallen out of the habit of bringing my flash unit. Many of my early morning photos look more like silhouettes, like this one of a Green Heron. Its profile is unique and does not require any other details to establish its identity.
This Bald Eagle is presumably one of the pair that has a nest about 2 miles NW of where it flew overhead about 15 minutes after sunrise. This photo, also taken on September 9, turned out soft and dark, requiring sharpening as well as brightening a full 2 stops.
A Loggerhead Shrike also came out too dark against the gray sky, but the photo was enhanced by the absence of shadows due to the filtered sunlight behind me. It cleared up quite nicely, but don't look too closely.
The day before, a pair of Northern Flicker males displayed in full sun as they competed for the attention of a female who looked on. Shadows and overly bright highlights now detract from the image quality.
That same day, my photos of a Brown Thrasher in heavy shade turned out remarkably well. Since a childhood encounter with one at a nest I have felt intimidated by their fierce-looking yellow eyes. Thank to image stabilization, the hand-held photo taken with my 420 mm lens came out well with minimal processing, despite being shot at shutter speed of 1/125 second, ISO 3200, and f/5.6.
A large gathering of Black Vultures at the local soccer field had the look and stench of death. I processed this photo without color.
Close up, one vulture's facial textures are enhanced by sun and shadow.
A Wood Stork in our back yard on September 8th bears some resemblance. Indeed taxonomists now classify storks and vultures as close relatives.
Early morning back-lighting helps define the plumage textures of white birds, such as the stork and a White Ibis nearby.
A Tricolored Heron was also foraging close by. If I had a wide-angle lens I could have captured all three in one frame.
The waders gathered where a Double-crested Cormorant was fishing just offshore. Perhaps its activity was driving small fish to the periphery of the lake.
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