Roy Toft braves the harshest of elements to capture this red crowned crane photo

Sometimes capturing the perfect photo means enduring severe conditions, as Roy had to do for this red crowned crane photograph. It meant shooting in the freezing cold and waiting for the sun to come up, but the resulting image was well worth it.

From Pain Comes Beauty

Roy Toft: This picture of a red crowned crane was taken on coldest morning of our trip when we were waiting for the sun to come up. You want it to be cold when you’re taking shots like this, with a little bit of mist coming off the water. You see that color shift.

This is one of the shoots where it’s a beauty to shoot RAW because you can put as much yellow or orange into that shot as you want, or you can shift it totally to a bluish picture. Just like in shooting film days, we would throw a filter on, throw on orange filter on or throw a blue filter on. Changing that white balance gives you a lot of versatility and a lot of different looks on a shot like this. (click the image for a larger version)

I shot just one red crowned crane to keep it simple. There are other cranes around there but in this shot I just wanted to get one silhouette of a crane and then see all that ice covered foliage on the sides of the river. It just gives you that real cold, in the middle of winter. It’s a very classic shape of a crane silhouette.

Audri Lanford: Yes, and it definitely feels like it’s freezing there.
Roy Toft: This was the coldest morning. Everybody’s has to really hunker down for that one.

To Sum Up

It was shot on the coldest morning of the trip and everyone had to endure the harsh cold of winter, but the end result was worth it.

Combining the environment with wildlife’s beauty and RAW shooting format, Roy Toft was able to capture this red crowned crane masterpiece.