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Great Blue Heron going out on a limb



On a key in the Sarasota area sat a group of great blue herons. While I've seen them in many other environments, usually in the lake or river fishing, view...
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On a key in the Sarasota area sat a group of great blue herons. While I've seen them in many other environments, usually in the lake or river fishing, viewing this one on the limb was quite a surprise.
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7 Comments | Report
germon55
 
germon55 February 09, 2017
Love the details. Great photo.
stephenbraunginn PRO
stephenbraunginn February 26, 2017
Thanks so much for the compliment. I was in an seasside park near Sarasot, FL and there it was. Right place, right time.a
davidsloan
 
davidsloan February 09, 2017
A fantastic capture, love it.
ovosphotography
 
ovosphotography February 12, 2017
like it!
stephenbraunginn PRO
stephenbraunginn February 26, 2017
Thanks so much for the compliment. I was in an seasside park near Sarasot, FL and there it was. Right place, right time.a
GigiJim08 PRO+
 
GigiJim08 July 22, 2017
I love this capture. Congratulations on your award!
stephenbraunginn PRO
 
stephenbraunginn March 08, 2018
Thanks for the wonderful comments.
anjavanderdonk
 
anjavanderdonk June 08, 2018
Awesome shot!
Cookies4U PRO+
 
Cookies4U December 04, 2020
elegant capture! wonderful detail.

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken while visiting my father in Sarasota, FL. A line of beaches lay across this popular vacation city. Longboat Key is certainly the most popular and populated with beaches, from exclusively private to a county park. My father, my wife and I went to South Lido County Park. As we parked the car, we immediately saw a ragged raccoon and great blue herons, all fishing for their meal. The raccoon in one of the trash containers while a blue heron stood nonchalantly on a pine branch, unspooked by the many visitors arriving to fish off the beach. When we walked toward the shoreline we were certain the heron would fly away, but, no. Thus a photo opportunity presented itself and I took full advantage of it.
Time
The time of day this photo was taken was truly advantageous as the bright summer sun, filtering through the trees, provided the right lighting and shading necessary for a clean photo. As great blue herons spend most of their time in daytime, the time of day was late morning.
Lighting
In this situation, due to the openness presented, the trees provided quiet lighting with the sun giving selected rays. A blue sky painted the background. A perfect setting, a perfect and well behaved subject.
Equipment
At that time I was using a NIKON D40 as I was in my early days of learning photography. The lens was a standard Nikon kit lens for the D40 (I cannot determine the specific lens right now as I sold the package). No tripod was used. It was a point-and-shoot moment. I saw it, pulled the camera up, took a few shots, moved on.
Inspiration
Florida is rich with birds of many species. I love water birds, watching them, studying their habits and calls (e.g. the king fisher makes a particular sound when it's preparing to take off; that's how I know to prepare my camera for an inflight photo). I encouraged my father to go to the beaches so I may get some bird photos. I'm collecting bird photos, categorizing them based on habitat, types of birds, etc. This photo went into the water birds category.
Editing
This was most certainly one of the easiest, beautiful bird photos I have ever taken (another in my ViewBug portfolio is the sharp-shinned sitting on my deck staring me down). So, post-processing was minimal. Did enough to assure straightness, tighten up the photo, give a little saturation, clarity and contrast. The deed was done. Voila'!
In my camera bag
I have had to make an entire change over in my equipment as my rheumatoid arthritis worsened. I just forged ahead with new equipment. My left wrist will eventually be fused. It's quite weak right now. I think it's necessary to share this information because in the photographic world, so much value is given to those landscape and wildlife photo subjects that require long walks, heavy packs, long exposures and other challenging work. For me, I switched from a Nikon D7000 to a Sony a7II. The weight made all the difference. As for the lens, I like Zeiss and how it works with vibration control but the price is, well, pricey. Nonetheless, for panoramic photos I use my Zeiss FE4/16-35. The weight is not ideal for my physical challenges but I rarely use it. So I pack it when I decide to hunt for panoramic subjects and I always use a tripod. The other Zeiss that I always pack is my 1.8/55mm. Oh, it's great for portraits, short range photos, small group photos. Baby photos with this is a must. It yields tremendous color and tolerates my tremors. My telephoto is a Sony 3.5-6.3/34-240. It possesses optical steady shot. Though disappointing, I keep it for the range, though the weight is challenging. But the weight is not like a 300mm which is what I carried earlier. I may pack the kit lens, Sony FE3.5-5.6/28-70mm. It works fine in basic inside and outside situations. And, of course, all of the lens are full-framed E-mount lens. I have multiple batteries and a portable charger.
Feedback
When hunting birds with a camera, learn the habits of the birds in the region you'll be in. Speed is critical. Shoot at a high speed. And the level of speed is dependent on the type of birds, the location (e.g. shooting in the woods with substantial leaf cover vs. open lakes or prairies) and the lighting. ISO level gets tricky in the woods. If it's a cloudy or foggy day, or at dusk, a high ISO will likely create more noise. That's where the light balance comes in. Also, if using a filter to soften or enrich the scene, the ISO and speed level will be a challenge. While shooting birds on bird feeders is easy, it's like hunting deer in a deer farm. You may get lucky if birds land on fences, railings, open branches. But always have your camera at a high speed. You just may catch that tricky king fisher taking off from a heavy-leafed branch leaping out into the open. Full, perfect photo. Oh, if you're interested in eagles, go out on the lake or river with a bucket of fish. Throw them out as bait for the eagles. Soon you'll be loaded with incredible prey-catching photos and bold eagle photos. Can't say it enough. Learn the habits and habitats of the birds you're searching for that perfect photo.

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