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Archive 2012 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?

Hey, well, I was driving by a local park yesterday and I saw a really weird looking duck stretching out his legs as I drove on the highway. I turned around, pulled up to the park and saw it was a Great Blue Heron. It turns out two of them live there every winter.

I had my camera and equipment on hand, and had yet to have a good reason to use my 135mm Canon FD lens, so I busted it out. It turned out, however, that I did not need it. The heron let me walk within 2 feet of them easily, and would just kind of waddle away, or fly a few feet.
Sometimes he flew in big circles with his mate, but, usually just stayed in the vicinity pushing ducks out of the way. (a LOT of ducks too)

So, after viewing my pics, I had a couple I liked, but I want to go back with my 50mm FD at 5.6, where it should really excell, and try again (I will also hopefully get a real good close flying shot, which the larger zoom made much more difficult to do in sharp focus.)

However, I am not 100% pleased with any of my photos, really. I need to work on getting more precise in my focus, and I still need massive composition improvements. Thus, I thought I would ask here if anyone has any thoughts, whats good or bad about the following, and how might I try to compose a shot next time to really get that wow factor, if you happen to see something or get an idea let me know! I have played around with some PP, but in the end I decided I am not ready for that. I have a little cropping done on the following, but that is about it, and not much of that.

This was cropped and made a little darker

redcrop by bmglen, on Flickr

SONY DSC by bmglen, on Flickr

SONY DSC by bmglen, on Flickr

Jan 27, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?

Hmmmm, you ask for help and no one gave it to you?? 137 people looked and offered nothing??


#1 legs please You nicely allowed space in the direction the GBH is looking. The water appears to be heading downhill so a bit of leveling might make this more comfortable to view. The GBH is sharp and has nice color! Just keep in mind to watch and include the leggies

#2 the better light is on the other side of this one. The framing is too tight. The exposure is good but it just doesn't have impact.

#3 That is a very different view, do you have more area to the right to include that is clean?? Again if the light were on the viewers side it would be more pleasing but you did a fine job with the lighting and the shot IMO.

Focus looks good on all. Color is accurate and not oversaturated. Keep the light in mind and work it to your favor, take your shot, and then think on how to compose it better to help minimize any BG distractions you can.

Post more often, continue to ask for help...........you are doing a fine job!

Jan 29, 2012 at 11:16 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?

Where is the "Like" button to like Karl's suggestion ?

Jan 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?

Old Canon FD lenses were a delight. I feel the red is you biggest problem with the first. Was there a reason you cut off the feet?

The second is my pick, a touch soft on the neck, possibly stop down more to address that. It’s a bit tight in the front and leveling the horizon is usually a good thing.

The 3rd has very nice feather detail. For me the problem is the tilted horizon.

I hope this helps


Jan 30, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Search in Used Dept. 


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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?

I agree with Karl’s evaluation of your shots.

However, I would like to add my concern about the proposed use of your 50mm for your return trip. Displacing birds by approaching them is stressful for the birds. A good rule of thumb is the National Park Service’s rule for wildlife in Yellowstone Park:

"It is illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within ANY distance that disturbs or displaces the animal."

http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/viewanim.htm You will get better “poses” by the birds if they are comfortable and not having to be vigilant and stressed because you are too close.


Jan 30, 2012 at 12:30 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?

Welcome and nice shots. I really am still very new to this and am trying to learn myself. Karl has given you some wonderful information.

Can only reiterate to watch your backgrounds as much as you can . Also want to agree with Curt about trying not to disturb the birds. If you will sit quietly and be still, you will be amazed as to what will come close to you. Try early mornings when possible.

Good luck, keep practicing and posting .


Jan 30, 2012 at 01:12 AM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Blue Heron reshoot advice?

Thanks for the horizon and leveling tips...I did pretty badly on that.

Ironically, it was the red reflection that I loved about the first shot. Also I agree about the legs...I might should have left them, but he jumped out in the water and stood on a drain grate for a minute, and it was REALLY ugly

As to the concern for the birds. Legitimate. You would probably be mad if you had seen me following up so close to him to get the close head shots.

However, in my defense, it is not a national park but a business park, quite small and the pond is virtually surrounded by birds and visitors on all sides (The heron and I almost stepped on two separate ducks at the same time, while being totally enclosed in a group, and the duck just looked at me like...really? wth? Though, in the herons defense here, he was probably not actually about to). Then the Blue Heron would hop from me and land about 2 feet from someone else. Seemingly quite content. They actually come back every year too, the pair of them, though one prefers to sit up on the big red waterfall object that was reflecting in the first picture.

I will try to be nicer next time though, I think i was getting on his nerves. hopefully I can get out this week and try again, will have to use the 50mm though, after some testing I have seen it has much less purple fringing and is noticeably sharper than the 135. Will post for more criticism when I do!

Jan 30, 2012 at 04:35 AM

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