Every year the Wildlife in NC magazine holds a photo contest. This year I came in first place In the bird category and third place in the invertebrates category. HERE is the link for my picture on the NC Wildlife Resource Commission Facebook page. Ten years ago I also came in first place for the bird category, with a black crowned night heron coming in for a landing on a branch.
Here is the description I gave in the magazine. "I was near a pond that had several birds perched on sunken tree branches. I made sure to walk slowly and take a few steps at a time so as to not startle them. My technique wasn’t quite good enough because all the birds except one flew away. Lucky for me, this egret hung around for portraits. I took a few shots and noticed that if I changed my angle the lighthouse would be in the background. I got some good shots of the bird with the lighthouse before moving again, a few more steps around. I noticed that the calm water and unique branches would frame the bird even better. The lesson I learned is always search for different angles because it can take a good photo and turn it into an extraordinary one."
(Nikon D750, Sigma 150–600mm lens at 280mm, f/8, 1/800 of a second, ISO 1,600)