Tale of The Take – Great Blue Heron


Some of you readers that have been with me a long time, maybe remember this photo of a Great Blue Heron.  This image shows the heron maneuvering his catch so he can swallow it down head first.  I was fortunate enough to come up with an exposure that seemingly suspends the catfish in mid-air.

Great Blue Heron - about to swallow catfish

We were below the Lake Nasworthy Dam, in San Angelo, Texas, back in September of 2009.  There were several pools between the rocks in the water, and the Blue Heron was doing a little fishing there.  He seemed oblivious to Ann and I, so I was able to take the time to set up my camera and tripod only about 30 feet away.  I watched him fish a bit, and tried to time his spearing so I could get a shot, as I did this one below.

Great Blue Heron catchng a catfish

Not bad for a practice shot.  I tried several more series of shots.  I had set my camera on high-speed multiple shots, and was able to shoot at about 5 frames per second.  As the heron’s head hit the water, I held the shutter down and produced several more shots.  Two of them are below.

Great Blue Heron with captured catfish

Great Blue Heron with captured catfish

This bottom photo is the one that I selected to produce the cropped image that you see at the top of this post.  The heron was quite hungry that morning as we watched him catch and devour at least four little catfish.

Camera vital information:

  • Canon 40D SLR
  • Canon 500mm f4 IS telephoto lens
  • Aperture Priority
  • Partial Metering
  • Exposure 1/4000 sec at f6.3
  • ISO 400
  • Bogen-Manfrotto tripod
  • Wimberley II gimbal head

Click on any image to see an enlargement.