A Joyful Noise
The sounds of the morning increased proportionally with the increasing brightness of the rising Sun. What started off with the occasional babbles of a pair of Cinnamon Teal mixed with the distant call of a Sandhill Crane, soon became a symphony of birdsong. Robins were gleefully hopping along the ground looking for insects. Their chirping added a sense of optimism to the day. Geese on the pond next to the one I stood near could be heard as well as Ravens off in the trees by the river. The Cattails lining the pond came ever more alive with various birdsong as the sun began to line the ridge of our beloved Bridger Mountains with silver edges. It wouldn’t be long before the shadows of these peaks shrank towards the mountains as if running to hide from the Sunlight.
I needed to be in position to catch a moment I’d only ever seen in other people’s inspiring photos. I walked to the western edge of the pond and set my tripod up facing to the east. The trilling call of Red-Winged Blackbirds began to rise to an earnest level as the males were staking out territory for themselves. Then, just as the Sun crested the ridge, an interesting sound made its way to my ears. I recognized it immediately as the “rusty gate swinging open” call of the Yellow Headed Blackbird. I say this with all due respect, because I can relate a bit to their apparent lack of ability to sing melodiously. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but just like these beautiful creatures, it doesn’t prevent me from making a joyful noise in my attempts to sing! I just love the way they throw their heads back and just let that noise escape with the gusto of a seasoned opera singer!
Now back to why I was here, at the edge of a pond, on a frosty morning. In the magic of the early morning, the raucous song of the Yellow-Headed Blackbird became visible in the chilly, humid air. Faint prismatic colors formed in the vapor as it dissipated into fantastic shapes. I smiled ear to ear with my eye plastered to the viewfinder as I captured moment after moment of this amazing sight. I ended up taking about 600 pictures in 45 minutes and this one is my favorite of them all!
Specific Feedback and Self-Critique
Catching bird breath condensing was my inspiration. Wondering if the backlit cattails with the yellow fringes are ok? This was just after the sun crested some mountain to the east. The sun was not as low as right at sunrise, but still pretty low. I’m always open to any critique of all elements of this image.
Nikkor 500mm, f/4 (rented!)
ISO 400, f/4, 1/640
I processed this in Lightroom. Used masks to reduce shadows on the bird and lighten the background just a bit and add some texture. I used a tiny brush to enhance the brightness and saturation of the colors in the breath.