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Great Bittern in a blizzard

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My first post for a long time, will try and post more regularly now!

It was taken in the winter of 2010/11, when there was a cold snap just before Christmas. Great Bitterns regularly overwinter at the London Wetlands Centre, but it is only when the water freezes over that they become more conspicuous as they are forced out of the reedbeds to look for food. The day before this, I had enjoyed fantastic close views of them in front of one of the hides there. I returned the next day, and settled down in the hide. There wasn't much activity close to the hide for a while, and then the heavy snow set in. It was unlike anything I had experienced in London before, but really gave the photographs something special. At times it was so heavy that the camera's AF struggled to lock on to the bird, preferring instead to focus on the falling snow! My dad was meant to be picking me up, but he was worried that because of the heavy snow, if he left it too long he wouldn't be able to, so he came back early to get me. Just before I had to go, I turned to see this bird stepping out of the reedbed, and onto the ice. It summed up the environment they were living in perfectly, showing the habitat and weather conditions they have to endure. It was the last image I took of the day, and turned out to be my favourite of all. It was also the last time I saw the birds so well until the last winter, when the cold weather again had the same effect.

I am delighted to say that this image has been highly commended in this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition!

Thanks for looking

Brand:NIKON CORPORATION
Camera:Nikon D300S Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:200.0-400.0 mm f/4.0
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Date Taken:18 Dec 2010 - 10:25 AM
Focal Length:380mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/4.0
Aperture:f/4.0
Shutter Speed:1/500sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
ISO:640
Exposure Mode:Aperture-priority AE
Metering Mode:Multi-segment
Flash:No Flash
White Balance:As Shot
Title:Great Bittern in a blizzard
Username:dewie dewie
Uploaded:28 Aug 2012 - 8:46 PM
Tags:Blizzard, Botaurus stellaris, Great bittern, Ice, Oscar dewhurst, Reeds, Snow, Wildlife / nature, Winter
VS Mode Rating 100 (50% won)
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Votes:4

Comments

rontear
rontear e2 Member 11rontear vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
28 Aug 2012 - 9:42 PM

Hi Oscar,
I am so proud to have met you in Richmond that day some time back. Congratulations on the H/C in Wildlife POTY, you desrve it !! Good to see you back on EPZ, your photography is getting the recognition it deserves !!!
Ron.

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dewie
dewie  5 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2012 - 11:24 PM

Hi Ron,

Thank you very much! I'm so pleased about it. Are you going to be at Richmond this year?

Oscar

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rontear
rontear e2 Member 11rontear vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
29 Aug 2012 - 8:22 AM

Hi Oscar,
I will certainly try, but we are in Africa during October so may miss the rut. We will have to meet sometime soon, I'll let you know if we are in the vicinity.
Ron.

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SueEley
SueEley  8271 forum posts Wales96 Constructive Critique Points
2 Dec 2012 - 5:13 PM

Very nice shot. Really atmospheric! Like the landscape format, too.

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