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Old Jul 20, 2004, 8:45 PM   #1
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Today was a good day. I wandered onto the golf course local to me where there are some ponds local to the clubhouse. It surprised me to see this Great Blue Heron sunning itself at one of the ponds, wings spread out in a manner similar to the way I've seen cormorants do. Wouldn't you know it, I didn't have my camera! I sped home and came back in ten minutes, just in time to snap a few shots of the heron before it decided to move on. Lesson learned: always bring your camera!!!!

Lighting conditions were difficult. I decided to improve my chances of getting a better exposure by using spot metering but perhaps my usual center-weighted metering might have done a better job. I probably should have snapped some shots using both. Next time...


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Old Jul 20, 2004, 9:27 PM   #2
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That is a great pose. Really nice.

Herons have a nice amount of white which makes things a bit more challenging than you might thing. I think you're right, you should have tried using both metering modes. I don't know if it would have helped, but you would have learned if it would have! I don't know if your camera has exposure compensation, but if so, use it. You can do "Bracketing", which means you take a picture using the meters reading, then take another with 1 stop less light than it says and then another with 1 stop more than it says. The odds are that one of them will come out right.

Eric
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Old Jul 20, 2004, 9:34 PM   #3
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Hi, Eric. Thanks for the comments.

I need to learn to think and act faster during these types of shoots. I had about30 secondsshooting time from this distance (about 15') before the heron moved off which sounds like a lot of time but for me wasn't. You probably would have gotten off 10 shots with various exposures during that time but I only got 3! I know if I had been able to stand back further because of a longer lens, the bird wouldn't have been spooked and I could have been much more leisurely.

Ok, so the particulars on this photo were:

Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
Aperture: 8
Exposure mode: Av
Exposure compensation: -1/3

As you stated, had I been thinking better I would have brought the EC down a step for a picture at each step. I think I will get more chances at this bird as this is probably a regular hangout for him.
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Old Jul 20, 2004, 9:38 PM   #4
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Hi Geoff, he must have been close, seems not to shy of humans either.

About the metering, try this with spot metering, aim at a white portion of the bird, and adjust the metering by going about 1 full EC to the left, maybe your camera will need more or less, so -2/3 to -1 1/3. Best trick is take different shots at different exposure next time.

Are you shooting in A/V or M mode ?

Nice shot btw
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Old Jul 20, 2004, 10:04 PM   #5
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Eric CAN wrote:
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Hi Geoff, he must have been close, seems not to shy of humans either.
He was close - I was able to get within about 15 feet of him. Golfers pass by him all the time so he is indeed used to people. Still, the bird didn't seem to like you coming inside the approximate 15 foot spacing, probably his own personal space threshold.

Quote:
About the metering, try this with spot metering, aim at a white portion of the bird, and adjust the metering by going about 1 full EC to the left, maybe your camera will need more or less, so -2/3 to -1 1/3. Best trick is take different shots at different exposure next time.
Yep, Eric S suggested this also. Over the next few days if I can find him at the same or close spot, I am going to try your advice out. Thanks!

Quote:
Are you shooting in A/V or M mode ?
Aperture priority - was at f/8.0 on this shot.

Quote:
Nice shot btw
Thanks! I find that alot of this stuff is a combination of patience and luck. This particular instance was pure luck.
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Old Jul 20, 2004, 11:41 PM   #6
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I just got done doing some post-processing to this additional photo of the heron. I followed him around the ponds for 2 or 3 minutes...



It's interesting that heron's body, legs, and head are in focus but it's neck is not. ??? I guess the neck was the furthest part of the bird's body at the time of this photograph.
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 4:46 AM   #7
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Nice shots, Geoffs. I prefer the last one by the way. They must be very used to people in your area, the closest I've ever been to one here is 30m, I envy you.

Regards
Fernando

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Old Jul 21, 2004, 8:51 AM   #8
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Thanks, Fernando! The Great Blue Herons in my area are probably just as willing to stay away from humans as anywhere else. But, because this is a heron which hangs out at the golf course, I think it has become used to having golfers pass near it. So, I was just lucky to come across it. I'm going to try again with(hopefully) the same bird over the next few days.
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:04 AM   #9
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geoffs,

very nice shot. How jealous am I. Man I need to find one of those tame ones.

Cool looking pose!

Yesterday I belly crawled up to the edge of the pond to get a shot of the blue heron.

I thought I had it made cause the stilts had not seen me yet to raise the alarm. I peek my head over the hill slowly and "squak!", damn if that heron didn't bust me at 60 yards and off he went. I am amazed at that birds vigilance.


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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:19 AM   #10
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Hehe - sorry, zoomn! I really didn't mean to make you jealous. You've posted so many great pictures of the birds you've stalked, as has Eric S and Eric CAN, and Normcar, and bobbyz, that I guess I was finally due to find a few that I could photograph with my equipment.

For all animals it's a matter of habituation. If the individual birds are used to people, for whatever reason (in this case because of an easy food source at the golf course), it's going to be infinitely easier to get close compared to, for example, the heron you are stalking. I bet that if you just walked around your pond every day, sort of minding your business and not trying to deliberately stalk your heron, over a period of time that heron would just look at you as part of the background noise in its environment. Since herons are resident all year round in my area and I think in yours, your heron should return to the pond on a regular basisso your own experiment in habituation is only a matter of time.
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