Photo of the Week #29 - Great Blue Heron

July 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The Photo of the Week is posted every Monday.  Each photo aims to document the things I've seen, places I've been and all sorts of curious things I have encountered as I go about my daily activities.  Along with the photo I will provide some background and interesting facts about the image and some technical information as well.




The Great Blue Heron seen above is not your typical backyard bird.  Their habitat is in and around lakes and ponds, often hiding amongst the tall grasses and reeds.  Its long and thin stilt like legs are the perfect waders for standing in the water catching small fish, frogs and small aquatic insects.  Imagine my surprise when a Great Blue Heron landed on the same platform that I was standing on next to the pond at the park!  I stayed very still at first but since I had my camera with me, I wanted to take its photo in the worst way.  He appeared to be more concerned about something in the water than with me so V-E-R-Y slowly I began to move my camera up to my face to prepare to grab a shot.


The bird looked at me and stared me down for a few seconds and I held my breath and waited.  Again his attention was called back to the depths of the pond providing me with the opportunity to finally get the camera up to my eye so I could frame the shot.  The decisive moment came when he looked off into the distance allowing me to capture a nice photo of him in profile.  After the click of the camera's shutter, he abruptly flew to the other side of the pond and hid high up in some densely packed trees.


This situation happened so unexpectedly that I really had no chance to adjust the camera settings to more optimal parameters.  If I could have hypothetically changed my settings without scaring the bird away, I'd probably drop my ISO to 100 since it was a bright sunny day and I'd lower the shutter speed to 1/400 sec.  Doing this would have reduced the noise in the image while still allowing a shutter speed that is fast enough to produce a sharp photo.  All in all, it worked out in the end.  This spontaneous moment yielded a photo of a bird that I would have never imagined I'd see this close other than in a zoo.



Equipment and Settings

Canon 40D
1/1600 sec at f4, ISO 400
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM lens set at 200mm


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