Nikon D750, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM

This weekend Joan and I explored Lake Macbride, which is located between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Heavy rain delayed our departure Friday night but we set up our campsite and launched the lake with our kayaks finally Saturday afternoon. This is an 812-acre lake and the park is with 2,180 acres Iowa’s largest state park.

We had some really good bird encounters in the forest and on the lake, for instance a Caspian Tern, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkeys, Pileated Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Green Heron, to name only a few. Of course, not everything leads to a photo and as I have written here before, the keeper rate by shooting from a kayak is ‘a little’ lower than by using a tripod on solid ground.

Approaching a Great Blue Heron with the boat is a tricky task. Most of the time they took off with a croaking call before we even got close enough to make a picture. This guy had escaped already twice. They just fly away and land at a different spot a few hundred yards down the shore. This shot was made after we changed our tactic. We paddled around the bird in a safe distance and approached it finally with the wind in the back. We drifted slowly towards the bird, without using any paddle strokes. The heron liked that obviously a lot better and allowed us to get into shooting range. I made the movements with the camera very slow and carefully. Fill flash was again essential to bring out the color of the feathers. This didn’t bother the bird a bit and I made quite a few clicks during this 12-minute approach.