A Thing of Beauty – The Great Blue Heron


Monday morning I took two framed prints down to Fort Concho, where this week they are having the Stribling Art Extravaganza.  On the way home I drove by the heron rookery along Concho River.  I observed what I think are a couple of chicks on two of the nests.  I could barely make out the tops of their heads as they are about 25 feet off of the ground.  But what I did see, was this adult Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), make a graceful landing.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

I missed the actual landing as I was distracted when trying to see the young ones.  The above photo was taken shortly after.  My first line of sight had that tree branch hiding the face, so I had to move a bit to get a better view.

On my Facebook page, Melba Smith, of  MJ Photography, made this beautiful comment: “Now this is what I call “Perfection”, Bob! Your work is wonderful! It’s just breath taking!”  I love to get such compliments, and I thank you very much, Melba.

In this case, I feel I need to share that compliment with the bird itself.  The herons are one of the most beautiful and graceful birds that I know.  I am glad that I was able to capture that beauty in such a way.  My part in the process was quite easy in the beginning.  I had my Canon EOS 7D and 100-400mm lens handy, and it was just a matter of getting the right exposure combination.  I was also fortunate to have such a beautiful blue sky for a background.

Another way that I was fortunate, as you can see, I almost clipped the wing, barely getting it into the frame.  After getting home I loaded the image into my computer and opened my Photoshop editing program.  I do very little when processing my images.  But I like to lighten the shadows, such as you can see under the wings.  Doing this you can see more detail.  Then I darken some highlights, which in this case, the sun was very bright on the side of the rump.  Then I add a little contrast and color saturation to make the image “pop”.

Digital photography has made photo editing so much easier than the old days of doing the same thing in the darkroom.  Now I just don’t get my hands dirty.  If you click on the photo, you will see a beautiful enlargement.  Enjoy!

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27 thoughts on “A Thing of Beauty – The Great Blue Heron

  1. Bob, gorgeous work on your heron photos, and I like how you remarked about sharing that compliment with the herons. I’m always grateful when a heron patiently let’s me take a photo. And I always say “Thank you” to the herons as I depart. Best, Babsje

  2. Bob, Getting the info regarding how you did the photo was great. The heron is a beautiful bird and I appreciate you getting the shot.

    • Hey, John, great to hear from you and thanks for commenting. I am glad you like the shot. Hope you visit my blog again. You can subscribe to it by clicking ‘sign me up’ on the right side of this page.

  3. Great shot, Bob Although you state you missed the landing, your capture gave me the sensation of seeing the heron landing on that limb. What a nice pose, exhibiting its plumage so well. And I especially admire what you can do with that 100-400mm lens.

    • Thanks for both of your comments, Jane. I am glad you like the photograph and I hope that I have helped you with your editing. I don’t try to ‘over-edit’, because I like to keep the images looking natural, too.

  4. They are beautiful birds and graceful. I am thrilled when I get to spot one, especially close enough to photograph. I like the way most of the branches frame the bird.

      • We are working on Spring in Colorado..the birds are beginning to be seen more frequently and my wonderful Mallard Ducks are dabbling in all the puddles along side the roadways. Ponds are almost free of ice..yeah..warming temps now.

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