Great blue herons in flight
I’m sorry about the appearance of my last post, I tried something different, didn’t like it, but didn’t have the energy to go back and do it all over. So I’m going back to the old way of doing things, I hope you enjoy these photos of great blue herons in flight.
I know I said at one time that I wasn’t going to take any more shots of heron’s butts as they flew off, well, I lied. I still do, for practice, but then I normally delete them, but I like these three as they show how herons twist their wings as they flap.
I have to tell you though, it’s a lot easier to get a shot of a heron flying away from you than it is one flying directly at you!
So here’s the story behind this little series. I was on my morning walk, minding my own business, and had just passed two young women going the opposite direction as I was. Suddenly, there was a great commotion in the brush along the creek I was approaching, and two herons burst out of the brush headed straight towards me, so close and so low that I thought that I was going to get hit by their wings. Out of instinct, I began to duck, and at the same time, brought my camera to my eye and fired. I swear that I heard the beep of the focus lock as I shot that photo, which by the way, was taken with the zoom set at 70mm, for I didn’t even have time to zoom in at all. My composure was not helped by the sounds of the two women screaming and breaking into a run right behind me, thinking that we were all going to be attacked by the herons.
I managed to regain my composure and shot these two as the chasing heron looked the situation over, and returned to the creek to hunt.
Do you know that it is darned near impossible to keep a bird as large as a heron in the your viewfinder when it’s less than 20 feet up and directly overhead?
For these next two, it was much the same situation, I was walking upstream along a creek, when a heron came gliding along headed downstream.
We spotted each other at about the same time, and the heron turned away.
From those experiences, and several others with various species of birds, I was learning that I have to anticipate when the auto focus is going to focus on the bird, and that I have to already be pressing the shutter release the rest of the way when it happens to get an incoming bird in focus. I thought that I had gotten the timing down for this one, but noooo….
For this series, I was using the closest thing that I use as a blind, standing against a fence in chest high weeds on top of the hill overlooking the pond you see in the background. I don’t think that the heron saw me when some one else spooked it, it was headed straight at me. I had to step away from the fence I was leaning back against in order to get the freedom of arm movement required when the heron spotted me, veered off to my right, and did a slow circle around me.
As some one who has never used Photoshop or any other photo editing software, I wonder if I could remove the sign from the background so that the photo looks more natural?
I wonder if I could edit out the building?
Bright sunshine is great for high shutter speeds to freeze motion, but then you have to deal with shadows.
Cloudy days mean little or no shadow, but then, getting sharp photos is more difficult, at least with my old Nikon. When I bump the ISO up higher than 400, the photo quality drops off to the point that I’m better off shooting at 400, and living with a little blur from motion.
Here’s a few more of my many attempts to capture the perfect shot of a great blue heron in flight.
Another heron butt, I do really need to stop posting those!
Just when I think that I am going to get the perfect shot, the stupid trees jump in the way and spoil it.
Sometimes more so than others.
So I keep trying.
Who knows, one of these days I may even get it right.
I’m getting closer to that perfect photo, one of these days!
That’s about it for this one. On a side note, I’m thinking of upgrading my photo equipment. Currently, I am using an older Nikon D50 and a Nikkor 70-300mm lens. Since I have worked all the glitches out of the body, I am very pleased with it, yet I think that the newer technology built into today’s cameras would be helpful. I would just purchase a new camera body, but I have read and heard that the lens I am currently using isn’t the best that Nikon has ever produced. I know that it has way too much chromatic aberration in it, and a few other problems as well. Since I’m on a budget, this won’t be easy, but I’m thinking of switching over to either a Canon 60D or a Pentax K5, with a couple of lenses for each.
One of my younger brothers uses a Pentax, and I can see that his photos are a notch above what I can get with the set up that I’m currently using. On the other hand, I am somewhat familiar with Canon, as I use a Powershot as a backup camera, and I am very pleased with the color rendition and sharpness it is able to achieve. Also, many of the bloggers that I follow use Canon equipment, and I’m often in awe of the quality of their photos.
I know that the most cost-effective way I could upgrade is to purchase a new Nikon body and lens like an 18-105mm lens so I would have something more suitable for landscape work, and continue using my current lens until I can afford to replace it with one of a higher quality. Or, I could continue to use the D50 body, and purchase a better lens now.
I’m so confused!
Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and any thoughts on the camera situation would be most welcome!