Taking flight, Egret, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Aerial Photography

Photographed from a helicopter,  one morning in July,  2009,  an egret takes to the air over the Okavango Delta.   The helicopter had the side doors removed so there was no issue with shooting through glass,  with the problem of glare and reflections which often make photographing from aircraft difficult.   The downside is the amount of air turbulence that occurs,  buffeting the photographer as he directs the lens.

It was advised in the circumstances to use lenses without lens hoods attached as they tend to act like a sail,  catching the wind and adding to the problem of camera shake.   Given the vibration of the aircraft and the air turbulence,  fast shutter speeds were essential and a zoom lens proved most useful regards framing the subject.

The Okavango Delta, seasonal variations

The Okavango Delta is fed by the waters of several rivers originating in the highlands of Angola.    2009 provided one of the best seasons seen for many years in the delta with substantial rainfall in the catchments ensuring that water levels were high.  Indeed some channels,  such as the Savuti Channel,  which had been dry for 20 years,  were full.

“Taking flight” Egret, Okavango Delta, Botswana.  Canon 5D with 70-300mm zoom at 210mm, aperture F5.6, shutter speed 1/800 second,  ISO 640.

Image processing

Processed in Adobe Lightroom,  the exposure on the right 2/3rds of the image was reduced by 1.5 stops to even out the excessive contrast between the dry grasses on the right of the image and the dark waters on the left of the image.