During my recent trip to Cuba I was able to capture a number of images of a green heron fishing and flying at 15 fps with my Nikon 1 V2 and 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6.
The first short run of images you’ll see were taken as a green heron was flying along the water’s edge and landing in a bush. My V2 and the CX 70-300 mm did a very good job acquiring focus against such a busy background. You’ll notice that the ISO has shifted mid-burst as I was shooting in Manual mode with auto-ISO selected.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
The next two images were captured as a green heron burst out from behind some low hanging branches and quickly disappeared into a tree giving me very little time to acquire focus.
The next few images are from a 14-shot burst that captured a green heron fishing from a low hanging branch. If you have never observed this fishing behaviour before it is quite remarkable how the green heron is able to extend its body, seeming to defy gravity before it strikes at its prey.
These images were captured during the late afternoon when the green heron was in dark shade. Unfortunately I inadvertently underexposed this series as I was doing my best to avoid shooting at ISO-6400 (these were captured at ISO-3200). I apologize in advance for the rather poor quality of the following images.
As you look at the next images it is good to keep in mind that all of this action happened in less than one second. These images are only 4 from a burst of 14.
Here is the green heron in its strike position..
Then actually striking at its prey…
A few frames later it is beginning to recoil…
Then beginning the process of pulling itself back up to the branch towards the end of the burst.
All of this happened in the blink of an eye and I think my V2 missed focus a bit on the last couple of frames, likely due to the dark conditions and the heron swinging back on a bit of an angle.
The next image is of a green heron in flight as it was banking towards me giving me a nice view of the top of its wings. You can see from the unattractive bokeh that it was flying against a very busy background.
The next two images are of a green heron fishing along the bank, then a short time later actually catching a small fish. Knowing how far a green heron can extend itself to strike I pulled back on my zoom in the second image in order to capture its neck extension.
While the Nikon 1 series has been much maligned by many reviewers I simply love using it to capture these types of images!
My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to make a modest $10 donation through PayPal to support my work it would be most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org through PayPal.
As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.
Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.