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Great Blue Herons

Ever since taking the photo below of a relatively close up of a Great Blue Heron I’ve wanted to find an opportunity to do so again once I upgraded cameras to the Sony mirrorless NEX-F3.

Great Blue Heron on Isle Royale

Unfortunately every time I seemed to be getting close for a nice picture of a heron it would get spooked and fly away all the while squawking at me eliminating any hope of capturing an image. This summer I found a couple of opportunities for photographs. While learning how to become a part of the landscape for hunting purposes, these skills were not adequate for pictures of this somewhat elusive bird. Keep in mind I have limited distance with my zoom lenses as the bigger ones require a fair amount of money which I am unwilling to spend as this is just a hobby. However I found a larger lens for relatively low expense by renting it for a couple of days at a time. The image below was taken with a 150-600mm telephoto lens which brings wildlife considerable closer than my little 210mm zoom lens.

Moving through the water

With that in mind, the photograph below was taken using my little 210mm lens. One of the skills I’m working on is hiding amongst my surroundings in order to achieve better results and it seems to be working. Of course finding the right location helps as well. The heron below was taken at a local lake frequented by such birds increasing my chances of getting closer to one. Here it is captured just as it spotted something moving in the water. Moments later it successfully caught something to eat.

What was that?

On the same lake but another location I caught this one sharing the area with a trumpeter swan and some ducks. I would like to have been closer but I still enjoy being able to photograph a heron before if flies away.

Sharing the lake with a swan and ducks

This next group of pictures were taken from a dock where the heron was obviously use to people being around making the potential for pictures easier. The next four photos are a sequence of a heron diving for food. In the photo below it saw something to strike at.

Spotted something

In the next picture the heron is leaping into the water attacking a potential meal where it was almost complete submerged for a time.

Diving in for food

Below is of the heron shaking water from its feathers after being soaked by the water. I couldn’t tell if it actually caught what it was after making its efforts worthwhile.

Drying off

Finally the heron is back standing on the log it began on to begin the search for food all over again.

Searching for food

My last image shows a heron with wings fully expanded as it takes off right in front of me in the evening sun. This particular heron flew away and returned to this same area multiple times over a few hours given the opportunity to practice photographing herons and learning how they act in this situation. I could identify this heron because of the feather or two missing from its left wing. For much of the time I was about 25 feet away from it just to give you an idea how close they have to be for a 210mm zoom lens to fill a frame with a heron. A very enjoyable time at the lake to spite the mosquitoes trying to distract me.

Flying Heron