Eye? Aye aye!!!

© Robert G. Stalnaker

Eye?   Aye aye!!!

Uploaded: April 16, 2008


Finally, . . . after two hours of waiting, a Least Bittern finally decided to peep out from deep within the reeds, just enough where I could get his eye in the picture. A family from New Jersey waited for about 45 minutes with me but gave up. A perched Bald Eagle waited and watched for about 20 minutes. A Crested Caracara came by and looked on also for a while. A couple from North Carolina was with me to the bittern end, . . . scratch that... bitter end, and we both did our best to get a photo of this secretive bird. Then finally, I walk away with this photo and a suntan for my efforts.

Exif: F Number: 6.3, Exposure Bias Value: 0.00, ExposureTime: 1/800 seconds, Flash: did not fire, compulsory flash mode, ISO: 640, White balance: Manual white balance, FocalLength: 400.00 mm, Model: Canon EOS 40D


Robert G. Stalnaker April 16, 2008

f/6.3, 1/800, ISO 640, AWB, evaluative, lens Canon EF 400mm L, handheld, Viera Wetlands, FL, 3/28/08. #902398

Michelle Alton April 17, 2008

Your patience paid off in gold, I think. This is a wonderful image, Robert.
Michelle #5798637

Karen Engelbreth April 17, 2008

LOL - great shot and story, Robert! #5802096

Su Sana E. P level-classic April 19, 2008

How beautiful is this? Framing is really wonderful and colors just beautiful here, Robert!! #5806112

Michael Umbreit April 19, 2008

Robert - Neat shot! I bet you were hoping for more but the colors and clarity are outstanding! - Mike #5806809

April 19, 2008

What amazing colors! This shot really makes you feel like you are there and your description makes it even more vivid! Your patience really paid off! #5808911

Robert G. Stalnaker April 19, 2008

Thank you all for visiting and commenting. This really was a very fun experience. At one point there were four photographers raising their cameras then lowering them, raising then lowering, on and on, . . . it was too funny! We would watch the reeds move showing us where it was without seeing them--actually a pair. Least Bittern are normally solitary, so it is possible they were nesting. Every time one approached the edge where we could possibly shoot it, the cameras were raised, then lowered with groans as it would recede back deeper into the reeds. The Bald Eagle, the Caracara all watching us watch the bittern . . . it was one of those "my stomach hurts from laughing so much" kind of day. The reeds were tall and surrounded the bittern. The sun poked through an opening lighting the bittern as it poked its head out at this moment, giving some nice light/shadow effect and detail on the subject. #5809334

Su Sana E. P level-classic April 20, 2008

Robert, I'm so glad to see the EfP on this. Now let's cross fingers and wait to see what happens next, ok? #5813642

Dick Jenkins April 23, 2008

"Patience is a virtue" Robert. The saying goes back to 1377. If you want something badly enough that's what it takes. Nice catch! I don't know that I've ever seen this bird in the wild. How's the sunburn? The 400mm L does a nice job AND you should receive your due praise as well. #5830284

Jennifer Burt April 24, 2008

Wow!!! Incredible picture. The clarity and colors are beautiful. Very well done. #5837186

Candice L. Carter April 26, 2008

Excellent focus! Wonderful color and brillant light! #5845553

BILL BRELSFORD level-classic April 27, 2008


April 29, 2008

Good work! The true test of a birder!!! This shot is perfect in every way. Personality, color, brilliance, lighting and one great story. #5858373

Robert G. Stalnaker April 29, 2008

Thank you all for taking the time to visit and comment.

Stephanie, I want to really thank you for mentioning "personality". As much as I hoped that the least bittern would come out and strut its stuff in full view, it was actually better I was only able to capture this much, because the "personality" of this species is secretive, and they really love to hide, so this image ends up being the "picture perfect fit" for the personality of the species, especially with the eye just barely eeking out into view. It was very nice of you to notice that the iamge ends portraying the secretive nature of this species. THX! #5860254

Hayden Cannon level-classic May 19, 2008

Fantastic capture Robert I really like the comp in this it shows how shy this bird really is. Great colors, lighting, comp, pov and details fantastic photo! #5941129

Songbird Cline level-classic May 25, 2008

wow, what a lovely surprise to see in the reeds... very nice! #5975114

To discuss, first log in or sign up (buttons are at top center of page).

Get Constructive Critiques

Sign up for an interactive online photography course to get critiques on your photos.


Did You Know?

BetterPhoto Websites: If you see an orange website link directly under the photographer's name, it's totally okay. It's not spam. The reason: BetterPhoto is the one that offers these personal photography websites. We are supporting our clients with those links.

Unavailable EXIF: If there is no other information but 'Unavailable' in the EXIF (meaning no EXIF data exists with the photo), the 'Unavailable' blurb is not displayed. If there is any info, it shows. Many photos have the EXIF stripped out when people modify the image and resave it, before uploading.


The following truth is one of the core philosophies of BetterPhoto:

I hear, I forget.
I see, I remember.
I do, I understand.

You learn by doing. Take your next online photography class.

BetterPhoto.com Editor's Pick

Copyright for this gallery photo belongs solely to Robert G. Stalnaker.
Images may not be copied, downloaded, or used in any way without the expressed, written permission of the photographer.
Log in to follow or message this photographer or report this photo.