Wildlife in North Carolina Photography Competition

From the very beginning of my photography career, I’ve dreamed of having one of my images to grace the cover of a magazine. For me, living in North Carolina, my favorite is the “Wildlife in North Carolina” (WINC)magazine. In 2004, WINC began an annual photo competition. In 2008 I entered for the competition for first time, winning 1st place in the youth division with this photograph of a Brown Thraser’s nest.

Since 2008 I’ve entered images every year but one. In their 10th year, 2014 competition, I felt that I had submitted my very best images to date. In early October I was informed that one of my images had won. I was the grand prize winner for the competition! The winner for their annual photo competition gets their image published on the cover the Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine. Here is the winning image:

I created this image in late December of 2013 at Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. I was scouting locations for my 2014 workshop with a fellow photographer, when we came across this Great Egret. When first arriving I immediately noticed the perfect mirror image of its reflection. I photographed the scene and quickly noticed that it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for the final shot. I switched my cameras metering system from Matrix (which meters the entire scene) to spot metering (which only meters the center of the scene). Being that the Egret was bright white in front of a shaded area, it allowed me to achieve as extremely fast shutter speed. By adjusting my shutter speed from 1/500th of second to 1/8000th of a second it made all the shaded areas fall dark, only showing the white of the Egrets feathers. All this happened in just a couple minutes before the Egret flew away.  I reviewed my images and was extremely excited when I discovered that I got the shot I had imagined in my mind.