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Posts Tagged ‘great blue herons’

Great Blue Herons are one of my favorite birds to encounter. I often photograph them from my canoe on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. The problem is that they are often difficult to approach here in Ontario. While I was out shooting fall colours at Stubb’s Falls on the Little East River in Arrowhead Provincial Park I encountered a ridiculously , cooperative Great Blue Heron. I was able to get so close to this bird that I had to back-up, at times, due to the minimum focusing distance of my 80-400mm VR lens, which is 7.5 feet. The base of Stubb’s Falls has many large boulders in the river making it difficult to capture a clean background, but I tried to work with the difficult elements before me, to capture a sense of place for this bird as it hunted in the fast flowing waters of the Little East River.

Since this heron was being so cooperative I decided to try some long exposures to blur the water for creative effect. The three images below have had their backgrounds slightly blurred in photoshop. The white foam floating by in the background does create some distraction for me, but this was the scene before me and what I meant by difficult elements to work with. I hope you find them interesting nonetheless.

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Juvenile Great Blue Herons on nest

Recently I became aware of a small heronry that consists of 3 nests thus far not too far from the family cottage near Parry Sound, Ontario. I drove down the highway to the location early one morning last weekend for a few photos. The juveniles are still at the nests, but are almost as large as the adults now. I counted a total of 8 young birds on the three nests. These nests are in tall dead trees standing in a large beaver pond. Usuing my 80-400mm VR lens I was still a little short for the composition I was hoping for. The solution here was to mount my camera on my tripod without the legs extended for maximum stability. Since the highway is high above the beaver pond I was still shooting straight at the nest. Next I selected the mirror lock-up feature to minimize vibrations from the slapping action of the mirror and thus render a sharper image. I then waited for three pleasing head angles from the juvenile birds. Once I shot the sharpest image possible I cropped it slightly for the composition I was hoping for and evicted some distracting elements from the background to render a more pleasing image. These distracting elements were removed by using a variety of quick masks and clone stamp tool. The original capture can be seen below.

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