Nature clicks #201 - Great Blue Heron

Heron in flight  

Joan had the day off yesterday and asked me to go to one of the nature locations around here in the evening. She really tries hard to get more practice with her new camera. I have never been really late at the 16th Street Basin in Dubuque before but we gave it a try. I gave her the SIGMA 50-500 and let her shoot from the “mobile blind”, our car. The lens is heavy and supporting it by the car window makes sense. Many of my images were made this way.

I attached the SIGMA 150, f2.8 and the 1.4 Teleconverter to my Nikon D300s instead and positioned myself behind the car. Effective 315 mm focal length are not enough reach for the birds on the ice but I was hoping to catch an eagle or Great Blue Heron in flight. The eagles didn’t move at all in our direction but there were many herons that changed position quite often. We waited very patiently and let the birds come to us.

I saw this heron coming from the right. As soon it was over the little patch of open water, I laid the hammer down with six frames per second and panned by turning my upper body, following the heron with the lens. I guess I’m still far away from using proper panning technique but it takes a lot of practice.

The questions is, why did I not start firing when the heron was still over the ice to the right? The answer is, because background matters! The ice had changed color to an ugly gray since I was there last Sunday. The water was just the way you see it here and the shaft of light from the very low sun on the bird’s feathers made for a photo that works for me…