On the weekend after Thanksgiving, Bill Dix was in birding heaven. He was at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida, and the water was teeming with birds: white ibises, black-bellied plovers, reddish egrets, willets, pelicans, and of course, herons.
Dix had arrived at the refuge before sunrise; he didn't want to waste a second of the morning's gentle light. Once the gates opened he made his way to the observation deck. This image was the first photograph he took that day. He captured the shot just as the heron provoked the stillness of the water, focusing on the tension between the bird's bill and the water's surface. He continued to work in the same spot for the next few hours, until the sun became harsh and muddled up his contrast. But Dix was content, knowing he had his picture of the tri-colored heron.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.