Rain has been predicted for the past couple of days. With that rain, I figured there might be some interesting storm clouds over at the Brazoria NWR. I woke up this morning at 6AM, peeked out the window, saw some big puffy clouds, and was on the road to the refuge before 7AM.
The morning did not disappoint: dramatic storm clouds, distant thunder, sporadic flashes of lightning, and hordes of herons, egrets, black-necked stilts, terns, some roseate spoonbills in the background, and four different sightings of American alligators.
For photography with storm clouds (or any kind of clouds, really), always make sure you have a graduated ND filter with you. During the really dark part of the morning, I removed the circular polarizer. However, as the daylight progressed, I placed the polarizers back on the lenses. Polarizers make blue skies bluer, clouds more dramatic, and can darken water and either enhance or eliminate reflections, depending upon which way you turn the polarizer ring.
My first stop was the refuge center’s lawn, where I photographed a bunny that looked a little the worse for wear, bless its heart.
After that, it was a few hundred feet to the boardwalk over Big Slough (pronounced “slew”).
Before getting into the car to head to Olney Pond, I stopped to photograph this little mockingbird. They are wonderful posers.
As I closed in on Olney Pond, I could hear a cacophony of noise before I even saw the birds. I couldn’t believe my eyes – it was a freaking heron and egret convention (along with some stilts, terns, and one or two alligators in the mix). So, if you ever are in the area and want to visit the refuge, I’d say the early morning is the best time to see the birdlife. Oh, and make sure you have your bug repellant. Those Cutter wipes are awesome.
This guy was looking for breakfast, and no, it did not get the heron you see in the background.
As the thunder rolled in the distance, and a teeny bit of rain sprinkled on the car, I continued along down the road and set up my tripod.
This is looking back up the road from whence I came. I could see a “thunder bumper” beyond, as the storm rolled over and past me with but a few sprinkles.
By the time 8AM arrived, the storm clouds had departed the area and the sky was starting to get its typical hot, hazy look on a humid Texas day. Plus, the mosquitoes were ganging up on me (but the Cutter wipes held true), and I wanted to get home to start working with my new photos.
All in all, it was a very good, stormy morning, at the Brazoria NWR.