How we got the pitcure: 'Egret criss-crossing the Fox River'

  • A pair of egrets crossed paths over the Fox River and then soared near the dam in South Elgin on Friday afternoon.

      A pair of egrets crossed paths over the Fox River and then soared near the dam in South Elgin on Friday afternoon. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Patrick Kunzer is the Night Photo Editor at the Daily Herald newspaper in Arlington Heights, Ill. 2019.

    Patrick Kunzer is the Night Photo Editor at the Daily Herald newspaper in Arlington Heights, Ill. 2019.

 
 
Updated 1/8/2020 8:48 AM

Photographers are used to working under tight deadlines. High school sports, school board meetings and breaking news are among the variety of assignments where we are asked to search for and submit defining moments from often complex situations.

An egret flying over the Fox River offered me a respite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

I was working from my car in South Elgin to file images from an afternoon news assignment before heading out to cover high school football. The Fox River in South Elgin is a very nice spot to work from. On this Friday, the river was running fast and the wind very brisk. Grey clouds from an overcast afternoon were beginning to give way to an evening sunset.

I looked up from my laptop, and two egrets were flying circular criss-cross patterns across the river. The behavior seemed routine, yet they glowed beautifully in the evening sunlight against gray clouds on the horizon.

I used a 200mm lens to zoom in on the birds, used a fast shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second to freeze the action, and looked for them to fly through a spot near the dam where the sun shone through with the dark clouds as a background.

The scene brought me an enjoyable break from my detailed work and I knew it would make a neat picture.

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