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Front or Back Lit? (Yet Again)

I spent some time with a couple Snowy Egrets some weeks (months?) ago. The sun was just getting low in the sky, but the light was still very strong. I was sitting on a road that ran north-south with ponds on either side; each pond had its own Snowy Egret stalking. The beauty was that one was strongly front-lit, and the other strongly back-lit.

With the bright sun, I was able to finally use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. First priority was the front-lit bird.

snowy egret










I then continued, using the exact same settings (as it was the same light, just from a different perspective) to photograph the back-lit egret.

snowy egret sil










Which image is stronger? Would you have guessed that both pictures had the same settings, given that the first image was made at 5:47pm and the second just five minutes later, at 5:52pm? And which bird (if any) was successful in its grab?

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