April 09, 2011 – I had contacted Chris Oertell of Portland Image Makers to see if he wanted to do some wildlife shooting on saturday. He was down for it and setup a meetup.com short notice meetup. Several others from the group joined us but instead of Fernwood, we went to Sauvie’s Island. Most of us arrived at 8am, some had been there since sunset. We met in the parking lot and traveled to three different spots. The Reeder Road location had an Osprey and we spotted an Eagle but I failed to get a picture. After several hours we where ready to move. Jeff mentioned that Kline Line Pond in Washington had been seeded with fish for a neighborhood fishing event. We had already seen some of Jeff’s pictures of the Osprey diving for fish and snatching them and we where all excited to see where this pond was. After a stop at Billigan’s for Breakfast we arrived a the pond. We shot an Osprey that was perched for several minutes before moving onto the pond. There was alot of activity and many many osprey’s. It was by far the most active shooting I have done when shooting wildlife. Usually wildlife shooting is alot of waiting, this was not. I am still learning my new Nikon D700 camera, so some of the pictures where blurry or just slightly soft. I finally figured out some settings and technique that worked and the second half of the pictures turned out better. I was able to get once good series of a Osprey snatching it’s lunch.
I was thinking this would be the last stop of the day, but then someone suggested we cruise to Ridgefield Wildlife Area and since the weather was nice, and I had never been I was all for this. Several others where also, some went home at this point. Ridgefield at this time of the year is a driving through spot only. You have to stay in your car. Ridgefield is off Exit 14 and quite a ways off of the freeway. You have to cross a one lane wooden, multi grooved I guess is how I would describe it, bridge to get to the parking lot. After paying $3 for access you are able to drive your car on a designated road around the preserve. This was quite the challenge as you have to drive slow enough to spot the animals and you have to contend with other drivers stopping or wanting to pass. As Chris put it afterwards the day was slow. I guess this was a bad day. However I was able right at the end to see a Bittern and not only did I get some very sharp pictures I was extremely lucky in capturing the Bittern eating a small green frog. I was snapping pictures focusing on it’s eye when it struck out quickly and swallowed. I remember saying to myself, “did it just eat something?” I took a look and sure enough I caught the frog hanging out of the Bitterns mouth, you can almost see the terror in it’s eyes. Unbelievable and I will probably never get another shot that is so good of wildlife action.