Photography is all about light: direct, indirect, reflected, warm, cool, bright, dim, morning, evening, mid-day, etc. Without some kind of light, there is no photograph. I was blessed with "perfect" light when I took this photo a week ago at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. I made the drive, hoping to photograph something in the fall migration. I had heard that water levels at the refuge were low due to a lack of any significant rain over the last month or two. I wasn't sure what I would find. Usually drought conditions mean that the water near the roads has dried up and any birds will be too far away to photograph. I always use my vehicle as a blind, shooting from the car window with a window mount and bean bag. The birds are used to seeing vehicles and usually are not spooked.
I arrived at the refuge shortly after sunrise and conditions were not looking good as I drove up the east side of the small marsh. It appeared that every pool close to the road was bone dry. I did see one pool up the road that had a little water in it. As I slowly approached, I saw there were a small group of American Avocets in the water. I was able to get in close without the birds flying. I could see that the light had a magical quality. The intense warm light of sunrise was illuminating the cattails at the back of the pool resulting in a blazing reflection in the water. The sun had not yet reached the birds or water. The near-white birds were standing out against the midnight blue water. The scene looked surreal. I knew I was capturing a special moment. And, how about that pose? Perfect!