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Herons Never Let Me Get This Close
Lens: Lentar 90-230 Camera: K-x Photo Location: Louisiana 
Posted By: Paleo Pete, 01-16-2011, 09:55 AM

Amazing is all I can say. Herons are very wary, the watchdogs of the lake. Around 60-70 feet is as close as I ever get.

Well, this one let me walk up to about 20 feet away yesterday, that was as close as I could get because I was on the boat landing, my shoes touching the edge of the water. I'd walk a couple of steps, take a few pictures. walk a few steps, take some more shots...not much out, 2 or 3 egrets and Herons flying around a bit, and this guy standing there on the bank watching me...I still can't believe I got that close...

This one was at ISO 400, f8 I think. I shot mostly f8 but switched to f5.6 for a couple, don't remember which ones...cropped at 1280x960 and resized. No other editing.

Click the image to view larger size.

This one is cropped a bit less, 2048x1536 and resized, ISO 800 and probably f5.6. It also might be the one that got a bit of sharpening, otherwise that's the only editing. I only sharpened one, but not sure which. I got a dozen or so keepers...

Click the image to view larger size.

and I had to get a shot or two with the reflection intact...I think it was cropped 3072x2308 and resized, no other editing.

Click the image to view larger size.

I think I got one or two decent shots of the egrets flying around, but nothing to write home about. So this Great Blue Heron is all I have to show off for today.

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01-16-2011, 11:15 AM   #2
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That is unusually close to a heron. Our great blues are so skittish that 680 mm needs cropping most of the time. Nice shooting. FWIW the shot with the reflection is the "money shot" for me.
01-16-2011, 11:26 AM   #3
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I think they are my favorite bird to watch and photograph. Nice job getting close, patience pays off sometimes. I try to stay far enough back to not disturb them, and leave enough room in the frame if they take off with that wingspan!
01-16-2011, 11:40 AM   #4
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I like #2 the best - lovely colours & sharpness. IMO I think the colour of the water spoils your reflection shot - and there is not a thing in the world you could have done about that !

01-16-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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nice shots, I will take 2 also, thanks Bob
01-16-2011, 01:04 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot guys, #2 is my favorite too, best shot I got all day. I always try to get close, usually they bail and the few shots I get have to be cropped to get anything at all, rarely I manage to get an eye you can actually see...this guy just amazed me...
01-16-2011, 02:46 PM   #7
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What a gift! You did an amazing job. It is such a pleasure to see this gorgeous bird here, and number two is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.
01-16-2011, 02:59 PM   #8
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I think birds of this type must just like me, either that or we have the boldest crop of this type of birds around here. There's a lot of sea birds, hawks and the like and they can get really close sometimes. I think I was about 6 feet away from a Great Blue Heron the other day. He did walk, slowly, cautiously with that pick up the feet thing that they do, and he did ruffle up a bit but he didn't just fly away. I find the little heron type birds around are far more skittish actually than the big ones.

01-17-2011, 09:43 AM   #9
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Love the second one. Great shots of a wonderful bird.
01-17-2011, 10:57 AM   #10
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Great images! This heron is very colorful, especially the top part of the beak - it has a lot of blue and magenta. Is this the same or a different species than the GBH we have on the East Coast?
01-17-2011, 11:08 AM   #11
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Yeah Pete, Those things a "jumpy" here too, as you and Albert mention, seems like
first time that mirror flops in body, they're gone. Have heard birds injest fermented
materials from time to time, maybe one mags encountered was "feeling no pain"
great shots BTW, hope I can take advantge in like situation.
01-19-2011, 10:53 AM   #12
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Thanks again everyone.

Kammerer - There are great Blue Herons and Tri Colored Herons that both look very similar. The Tri colored has several white spots down the neck that the Great Blue does not have. If it's actually a Great Blue you're seeing, it's the same species. Or it could be the Tri colored, we have both here along with Green Herons and Yellow Crowned Night Herons, which look quite different. No mistaking them, unless a Black Crowned is around...But there again, enough difference a good look will tell you which it is.

anyway, if it's the big blue one, it's either a Great Blue or Tri Colored. Either will be the same species we have here.

BillM - That's interesting, I didn't know they would eat "fermented material".

I just missed a good shot this morning, a very recently dead fish floating at the edge of the boat landing, I was taking some shots of an egret off to the side when a Heron (Great Blue) dove down and snapped up the fish less than 20 feet in front of me and I missed it, not looking that direction...I know the fish was recently dead, I watched the fisherman throw it back 5 minutes earlier, after letting it lay on the boat seat for 5 minutes or so, just long enough for it to have no chance...fortunately it wasn't a total waste, the Heron got breakfast...
01-19-2011, 10:57 AM   #13
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Should have thought of this earlier, I looked them up.

Tri Colored Heron Tricolored Heron, Identification, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

GreaT Blue Heron Great Blue Heron, Identification, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
01-19-2011, 11:07 AM   #14
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That third one deserves some retouching! He should be as sharp as possible - its a great shot. SET IT FREE!!!

01-19-2011, 12:15 PM   #15
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I've looked at that one several times and considered a bit of processing, not sure if I will, I usually leave them alone as much as possible. But that one might work out well if I push the contrast a bit more and bring up the gamma to brighten it some. Sharpening might happen, i'll have to see how it looks...

Than again I'll have to look at the ones i took this morning, might have something else good there...hehe Thought I was going to get another close shot of a heron but someone pulled a car and boat onto the landing and the heron bailed, I was about 30 feet away and getting closer...oh well, there's other days...

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