Willet, Tringa semipalmata – Benton Lake NWR: I love to shoot in early morning light as the sun breaks the horizon. The warm, low angle light at sunrise makes the perfect images. But, not every morning is perfect. Believe it or not, on some mornings the sky is overcast and it makes you want to sleep-in. That’s the way I felt the morning I shot this willet. Pre-dawn was cold and gray and I did not want to get up, but I did.
By the time the sun was supposed to have risen, I was onsite at Benton Lake NWR just north of Great Falls, Montana, just hoping the weather would break. It didn’t, but an hour later the sky was brighter and filled with willets protesting my presence on their nesting grounds. No matter what direction I went, I found myself intruding on willet territories.
I shot this image as a willet attempted to drive me from its nearby nest. With each swoop the willet made, I took a series of shots. The scenario repeated itself about three or four times, and with each burst of images I shot, I kept thinking, “if I only had warm early morning light, what a great shot this would be.” Knowing that I was disturbing the birds, I decided to leave. In retrospect, those attempts to drive me away actually did work.
The next day when I was down-loading images I found each shot of the willets expressed a high-key background that was the perfect complement to the willets black-and-white plumage. After reviewing the images, I was happy with the light, and the images.I'm really pleased that I got-up early on that gray day!
Nikon D300, Nikkor 300mm f2.8, 1/2000 @ f7.1, Handheld