A distinct shadow in profile accompanies this black-crowned night heron, as it sits on a rock at dawn near Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, California. The morning light glows warmly on its soft plumage and bright red eye, while it waits for a tasty meal of fish or frogs or some delectable crustacean.
I’ll be honest, we didn’t visit Santa Barbara or get up before dawn to take photographs of black-crowned night herons. While photographing Stearns Wharf and the surrounding beach at first light was fun, somehow we got distracted by the variety of birds hunting and feeding at this same time of day. Before we knew it, we had begun stalking egrets and ducks, great blue herons and black-crowned night herons. Silly as it sounds, we named them as we followed them around.
“Oh! Here comes the Baron von Heron” (The great blue heron).
“Shoot…I just missed a shot of Wilma in flight!” (One of the great egrets)
We named this beautiful black-crowned night heron, Igor. It was one of many, perched on the rocks waiting for breakfast. As the warm morning light grew stronger, I saw Igor’s shadow take shape. I waited, hoping Igor would turn and I could get an angle that would allow me to capture both bird and shadow as complete and separate entities. Igor made me wait for quite sometime, but eventually posed beautifully with his shadow.
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