Great Blue Heron Images

This article features a small collection of Great Blue Heron images all captured on the same morning during a recent visit to Hendrie Valley.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-3200

As I was strolling towards the ponds at Hendrie Valley a Great Blue Heron swooped in to land. Having no time to change my camera settings to shoot in AF-C, all I could do was grab a couple of quick single frame exposures of the bird flying in.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-1800

Surprisingly it chose a spot quite close to the access road, giving me some decent opportunities for some still images.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 220mm, efov 594mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-1000

Since the main objective of my visit was to photograph ospreys catching fish, I set my camera accordingly, then captured a few images additional images of the heron.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 241mm, efov 651mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-1100

It proved to be a willing subject, affording me a number of photographic opportunities.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 246mm, efov 664mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-1250

The bird took a while to settle in to its surroundings and moved around a bit before finding a fishing location.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-1250

This gave me the chance to compose images with varying backgrounds. The Great Blue Heron took up a fishing position next to one of the fish gates on the stream. These gates allow particular species of smaller, spawning fish to enter the ponds while restricting access to carp.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 168mm, efov 454mm, f/5.3, 1/2000, ISO-1250

The bird attempted one fish capture, plunging its head like an arrow into the still waters.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 168mm, efov 454mm, f/5.3, 1/2000, ISO-1250

Unfortunately the effort proved unsuccessful.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 168mm, efov 454mm, f/5.3, 1/2000, ISO-1400

The Great Blue Heron then dried itself off by puffing up its feathers, giving me another image opportunity.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-1250

While I glanced down at my photographs on the rear screen of my V3, the heron took flight and eventually landed on the banks of one of the other ponds at Hendrie Valley. It was a fair distance away and I needed some aggressive cropping with the image above.

As it turned out I really didn’t get any good opportunities to photograph ospreys fishing on that particular morning. The Great Blue Heron made my visit worthwhile.

Technical Note:
All images were captured hand-held using a Nikon 1 V3 and a 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens. All photographs in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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10 thoughts on “Great Blue Heron Images”

  1. I really like Great Blue Herons and these photos of this one is wonderful. From time to time one visits the large pond near me, but doesn’t let you get anywhere near him or her.

    1. Thanks Joni – I’m glad you enjoyed the images! Great Blue Herons can be skittish if they’re not that used to people. They often will come back to the same spot at about the same time everyday so if you can find a good vantage spot before that time you may get a good few and some photos.
      Tom

  2. Hi Tom,

    Looks like that heron posed for you to make the morning trip worthwhile 😀 Kidding aside, I would like to think birding/bird photography is equal parts experience, skill, patience and luck. Thanks once again for sharing your insights, images and settings. I’m taking mental notes and will practice my bird shooting when the opportunity presents itself.

    Oggie

    1. Hi Oggie,
      I agree that all four of the factors you noted each play a part. I think a fifth factor would be concentration. I’ve found that often the action happens extremely quickly and being able to react very rapidly is often the difference from capturing an image and missing it.
      Tom

      1. Tom,

        I agree as you made your point with having the heron fly away while just checking your screen. It’s akin to waiting for the light to shift in landscapes but with the patience factor doubled, tripled, quadrupled. As we always find out eventually, photography teaches more than techniques but the sublime art of waiting.

        Oggie

        1. Hi Oggie,
          The sound that one definitely does not want to hear when out photographing birds near other photographers is that of their cameras rattling off AF-C runs when you’re not actively capturing images of a bird. If I’ve learned anything about bird photography it’s the difference a second or two can make to getting, or missing, an image.
          Tom

          1. Tom,

            I agree. I’m not exactly a fun of using AF-C blitzes or shooting with a group of photographers in one spot. I’m also pretty sure the birds eventually learn to associate the shutter button with staying as far away as possible like it’s not exactly a gun but nevertheless something intrusive to get away from.

            Oggie

            1. Hi Oggie,
              Actually I’ve found that some familiarity eith humans is not a bad thing. I’ll be publishing an article next week with images of ospreys fishing…all captured in an area with quite a few photogrsphers.
              Tom

              1. Tom,

                I get what you mean with familiarity as the birds or any wildlife gets less skittish that way. Although I am personally morally torn when it comes to that topic — I will only photograph the bird or wildlife but others may not have a noble intention. Anyway, it’s an altogether separate topic. Certainly looking forward to your osprey post.

                Oggie

                1. Hi Oggie,
                  I think it is important not to disrupt the birds or to do anything that impedes their natural behaviour. In terms of the ospreys, they have been nesting in the Hendrie Valley area for many years and have been returning year after year for quite a while. It appears that they find the environment there to be ideal to nest and raise their young.
                  Tom

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