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Posts Tagged ‘Ardea herodias’

Sunny days have been relatively rare this winter, so it is almost a special occasion when we do have one. Although it is nice to capture images of rare subjects on those special days, it is equally pleasurable to photograph the common species, like this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) that I spotted recently at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The additional light from the sun helps to make the heron’s wonderful colors “pop” much more than they do on gray cloudy days.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love the delicate and deliberate way that Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) place their large feet when walking in shallow water, like this heron that I spotted on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Great Blue Heron

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was not as bitterly cold on Monday as it is today, but this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) nonetheless seemed to be hunkered down at the edge of a pond as it sought to stay warm at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It almost looks like the heron is wrapped in a cloak of fluffed-up feathers with only a minimum amount of its body exposed to the elements.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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After several unsuccessful attempts, this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) pulled a good-sized fish out of the waters of a small pond on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. A few second later the heron had the fish correctly positioned and swallowed in a single big gulp. I thought the heron would take a break to digest his meal, but it returned immediately to fishing.

Great Blue Herons have an amazing amount of patience. They will stand immobile for extended periods of time and then strike forcefully into the water without any notice. When I am observing a heron, it is always a challenge to remain alert and ready. Often the heron’s patience exceeds my own, but fortunately that was not the case on this particular day. I was lucky too that the heron did not turn away after it had caught the fish, which allowed me to capture some of the action.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Most of the time that I see a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), it is standing stationary in the water or is flying away from me. Yesterday, however, I saw herons in slightly more unusual places. One was crouching slightly as it perched on a low branch overhanging a path at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the other was huddled in a field adjacent to a small pond, half-hidden from view.

The first image is an obvious one to feature in a posting, but I also really like the way that I captured the heron’s surroundings in the second image and the heron’s yellow eye that seems to be peering out at me though the reeds.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I entered Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge early one morning last week, a layer of ground fog was hanging over the fields, giving the landscape an eerie feel that somehow seemed appropriate for the Halloween season.

As I made my way to the water’s edge, the skies brightened a bit and the fog seemed to lift a little. I was filled with a peaceful and serene feeling as I enjoyed the early morning moments with a Great Blue Heron in the distance.

morning fog

morning fog

morning fog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I suspected that this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge would be silhouetted because I was shooting into the light. I was going to make some adjustments to my camera settings, but it took off before I could do so and I captured a cool series of images.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

I liked the way that a few details of the feathers were visible in the images and the pink and blue streaks in the background were a nice touch. I decided, however, to play around with one of the images and opened the second shot in SIlver Efex Pro 2, a black and white conversion software program that is part of the Nik Collection.

One of the filters turned the heron into a completely black silhouette—with some birds, identification would be a problem, but the shape of the heron is unmistakable here. Another filter created the effect of a pinhole camera and you can see the result in the final images. There is something about that final image that really appeals to me.

I tend to strive for realism in my photos and normally do only a minimal amount of post-processing. I had so much fun, though, playing around with the different effects you can achieve with software that I suspect I will consider doing so again in the future.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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