KEOLADEO NATIONAL PARK, RAJASTHAN, INDIA
EASTERN GREAT WHITE EGRET, ARDEA ALBA MODESTA
A great white egret flies into the misty morning in Rajasthan's Keoladeo National Park.
Its nearly two meter wingspan, long neck and legs make for an elegant view in flight. The great white egret is at home in all continents of the world except Antarctica and divided into four subspecies depending on the region.
I only stayed in Keoladeo National Park for a few days, renting a bicycle to get there from my hotel in the busy city of Bharatpur, but they were to become photogenic days. Keoladeo, declared a World Heritage Site, is a avifauna sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the winter season and is probably one of the best bird watching place in Asia. Over 366 species of birds are known to have made the National Park their home or migratory destination. It is actually a man-made and man-managed mosaic of dry grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps, and wetlands. A few well maintained elevated pathways allow to explore the National Park by bicycle, which is a fun and quiet way to move around.
The first morning the bird sanctuary was covered in a carpet of mist, the white egrets barely visible in the dense fog. I got off my bike and mounted the camera with the 600mm telephoto lens on my heavy tripod. The conditions with low light and the dense fog required a 200 iso film but considering this technical difficulties I am very happy with the results. The graininess of the film combined with the mist made for a nice atmosphere. I probably could have cropped the image so the bird would fly "into" the frame, but in the end I went for the original composition as I find the centered egret goes better with the calm quality of the moment. I was every so slightly panning along with the flying bird rendering the background slightly unsharp.