Portrait of a Great Blue Heron

This is one image that I almosed tossed out in my digital trash.  When I was photographing the Great Blue Heron, (Ardea herodias), the other day, he was about 150 yards away, across the river.  While trying to get some shots hand-held I threw my aiming point off a bit.  You might say that my gun went off in the air. 🙂

Anyway, I chopped the heron off above the knees.  Fortunately, I, like other dedicated photographers, always take many, many exposures of any given subject.  So I had more shots like the one I posted yesterday.  This morning while taking a closer look, I decided I could make a portrait of this handsome guy.  And, besides, I need something to write about in today’s post.  So, here is the result of that little mis-adventure.

Portrait of a Great Blue Heron

Also, during that little trip by the river, we saw several Western Bluebirds, (Sialia mexicana).  Since, most of the bluebirds that we see here are the eastern variety, I waited about posting any images until I could make sure of the ID.  I didn’t get any photos that were ready for the art galleries, but this one is acceptable.  Unfortunately, because he is face directly at the camera, you don’t see much of his beautiful blue.  The photo is, of course, an adult male.

Western Bluebird - adult male

I hope you are enjoying all of my posts about the birds and birding of west Texas.  So keep reading and coming back as there will be much more in the future.

Great Blue Heron:  Canon EOS 7D with Canon 500mm f4 lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  Exposure:  1/2000 sec. @ f6.3, -1.3EV,  ISO 100.  I reduced the exposure because of a lot of glare off of the background.

Western Bluebird:  Canon EOS 7D with Canon 500mm f4 lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  Esposure:  1/1250 sec. @ f8, -0.7EV, ISO 100.  I messed up on this one, in that I inadvertantly reduced the esposure by 2/3, when I intended to increase it by the same amount.  I corrected it Photoshop.  Whew!!!

40 thoughts on “Portrait of a Great Blue Heron

  1. Yippee! Another heron – and a great portrait shot! You know, we know about bluebirds over here in the UK and we sing about them – ‘There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover’ – but I had never seen one until I started following your blog, Bob!I think the songwriter got the species wrong! It should probably have been swallows!



  2. Ah..spring must be in the air.the Bluebird is such a delight, but as usual your portrait of the Heron steals the show. The detail shown in the plumage is spectacular and even more fun to paint. We had Nuthatches out and about today playing in and out of the their House. Looking for newcomers to our feeders. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us..God Bless and have a Super Saturday..

  3. Both are fantastic Bob! I know what you’re talking about, it’s nice to decrease photos when you’ve taken many of just one bird but I too have ‘found’ a shot within I thought a miss. So every shot that’s good/clear, even if I missed part of the head, a wing, legs or tail, I keep ‘just in case’. And later, wow there it is, my close-up! I tend to be more in full-bird mode/shots, but sometimes I want to play with close-ups. Better safe than sorry I figure. I shoot in both raw & jpeg but post from the jpeg shots to keep file size uploads at a minimum. My photo count & file size quickly became huge with all those ‘keepers’. So ok, problem solved, I went out & bought a 1.5TB external hard drive. 🙂 No worries about filling that up for a while…..I think! LOL

    • Thanks for the really great comment, Donna. I shoot in RAW only. I convert the image to a JPEG after I have processed it, then post it. That way, as you say, the files are smaller, but I have a better quality photo.

  4. Bob thank you so much for helping me with the plastic sleeves for my cards. Now i have another request. We had a hawk fly into the barn to terrorise the pigeons in there, john cheered him on!. He is actually still in there, we hope he will find his way out tonight. But I got a very bad shot of him from below, (no light too much mvt) but it is kind of clear Ok, do you think you might have a crack at identifying him? I will post as usual at dawn tomorrow on my blog. for the record we are in illinois, I know this is far from you but I thought I might give you a try. many thanks.. cecilia

    • I will look forward to seeing the image. I will do my best to ID him for you. I love a challenge. Hope he doesn’t give you any more trouble. Thanks for the wonderful comment., Cecilia.

  5. This is my favorite post of a blue Heron. The blue bird makes me feel like spring is almost here. We had one at our bird feeder this morning. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. 🙂 Carolyn

  6. Very pretty shots, Bob. Do you have any advice for spotting the bluebird? I don’t think I’ll see them here at this time of year, but I’d love to get pictures in the spring.

    • Karen, you ask very tough questions, you know. (chuckle). I don’t really know what advice to give you, since my experience was to see these birds, then I hollered, “hey, those are bluebirds”. I don’t know if that is a good suggestion or not. 🙂

      Thank you very much, Karen.

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