A great egret eats an American bullfrog in the rain at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

In 2001 I bought what at the time was my most expensive lens, Canon’s 100-400mm lens. Since then it’s gone with me on every hike and nearly every trip and been one of my most treasured lenses. However the image stabilization system needs repair but I haven’t sent it in as I was hesitant to spend much money on a lens that could benefit from a modern re-design.

To my great delight, Canon finally brought out a new 100-400 lens and I pre-ordered the day of the announcement. It arrived on Friday so Saturday morning I opened it up and took it to my favorite refuge to try it out. One of the nice new features is that the lens has some weatherproofing, which I got to test with my very first pictures when I encountered this egret in the pouring rain. The egret was on the passenger’s side of the car so I slid over, stuck the lens out the window into the rain, and had just got the exposure and focus set when the egret struck into the water, pulling out this small bullfrog.

I meant to frame a little looser but in my haste to even get the shot I didn’t keep the camera quite level, so I rotated and cropped in post. Still I was pleased that with the zoom I was able to pull back and show a bit of the world these animals live in. The egret with its long featherless legs is built to wade in shallow water like this, able to hunt along the water’s edge, looking for frogs and fish in the water and frogs and voles on the land.

I’ve always loved photographing in the rain, especially to show how animals still have to go out into the rain to live their lives, and I’m thankful my favorite hiking lens now can as well.

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