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Stock Ranch Nature Preserve Citrus Heights
As a photographer, I am always looking for great photo opportunities. Sometimes opportunities are at your back door, and you don’t even know it. I live close to the Stock Ranch Nature Preserve on Auburn Blvd in Citrus Heights, CA, and often frequent walks in the nature preserve behind the store. One day I decided to walk down one of the trails and ran across this little ecosystem of two egrets, ducks, and frogs. All were happy and in their own little world, except the frogs being eaten by the egrets. A world without COVID, rumors of war, and soaring gas prices. This inspired me to break out my Sigma 150-600mm s lens to see if I could just capture the world of the egret. I shot over 100 pictures, as you will see in the gallery below. I guess I got lost in the beautiful little world that was going on, oblivious to me behind Costco.
One of the challenges in this shoot was low light due to clouds and the ambient amount of light during the golden hour at sunset. The lens (Sigma 150-600) has a maximum aperture of F6.3 at full zoom, which cuts down the available light (Review coming on this lens, so stay tuned). I wanted to use a shutter speed of 1/1000s to freeze the majestic bird if it took flight, so I knew I would need to increase the iso to maintain that shutter speed at F6.3. Most of these photos were taken at ISO 3200 and at 600mm as I did not want to get too close and disturb the ecosystem.
I try to tell most new beginner photographers that you need sharpness in your photo, obtained by freezing your subject’s motion and your motion of moving the camera (if not on a tripod). Sharpness is different than focus. If you do not have any motion blur (on your end and the end of the subjects), your images will be sharp, and the noise will be minimal and can be removed in post-processing. Take a look at the gallery below, and feel free to leave your comments and questions. I did capture a few images of the egret in flight.