We drove out to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and found this blue heron very near the road. Motorists are not allowed to leaves their vehicles at this point but you can stop and shoot from the window. We stopped and watched it for a few minutes and then suddenly:
It didn’t take him (her) long to finish his lunch and be on his way.
I wished I had another 100 mm on my longest lens (300) and an extra stop, but it was a nice, sunny day for shooting and I was pretty happy with what I got.
Happy Earth Day!!!
Love his hairdo!
It’s the best you can do considering he lives in a swamp.
Earth Day? They still do that?
Thanks, John. Absolutely!!! Earth Day is for real.
Wow…nice catch! For the bird that is. And for you too Ken. Did you actually see him catch the fish?
Thanks, John. Yes, the first photo is the “before” the catch. He caught the fish very close to the shore where he is standing in the first photo and the water was quite shallow.
Hey! . . . John stole the comment I was going to make . . . good catch for the both of you.
As for long lenses . . . almost everything I shoot is with my 70-200mm lens. I do have a 80-400mm but unless it’s a very bright day, and the subject is very far away, I get better results from the 70-200mm.
Thanks, Emilio. My 70-300 VR is a really nice lens but I didn’t shoot any birds in the distance because of the reach limitation. Next time I go I will have a way to mount the camera to the car door or at least a bean bag to steady the lens in the areas where leaving the car is not permitted. I saw other photographers with door/window clamps that looked nice but I’m not sure how well they work. Probably better than hand holding, though.
I’m at that age where there is shake regardless what I do. The 70-200mm lens I have has Vibration Reduction, but I still try to brace my supporting arm.
As far as using the window/door/structure of the car, I would suggest turning off the car if you do that. A rice or bean bag will work better for those applications (and cheap to make) as well as allowing better response to the movement of the subject.
My own experience is that regardless how I brace/support/etc the camera and lens, I cannot beat the Vibration Reduction function. Unless, of course, I’m using a tripod (and even then, it’s close). This is especially evident in my 400mm lens with VR . . . .hand-held shooting at the Moon I get better and sharper photos than if I lean on a post, wall, etc. to support the camera.
One thing with shooting at a distance (and I should do a post about this) . . . there was a definite improvement when I went from my D100 (6.0MP) to my D200 (10.0 MP) and to my current D7000 (16.2 MP).
Basically, the same shot allows me to crop (zoom) in a lot more with the higher MP. Mind you, the overall photos look very similar, but with my current lens and camera combination, I can shoot at distant things, and still get usable photos, despite shooting with a 200mm lens.
Thanks, Emilio. I’m going with the bean bag on my next trip. My 70-300 is also a VR and, according to the booklet that came wit it (yes, I read it) it advised not to turn the R function on if the lens is being supported as it can give blurry shots. I verified that bu mounting it on a tripod and testing it at full extension. That seems to be the only quirk on the lens but i don’t know if all VR lenses are the same.
I also like the fact that the D600 allows me to crop with out losing too much resolution in the final adjustment.
D600, eh? The DX makes my 200mm act like a 300mm, so we are at equal zoom length, although I think the resolution on the D600 is much higher than the D7000.
I’ve resisted going full frame specifically because I don’t want to give up the zoom multiplier . . . but with the cameras now well over 20MP, that might not be much of an issue.
But for now, I’m happy with what I have.
I had a few full frame lenses from my 35mm days that work well with the D600. That was my main reason for buying it and it’s worked out well.
I have always wondered how the heck they fit a fish that big down a neck that narrow. The heron must have been every bit as satisfied with his day as you should have been for getting these shots!
I have a c-clamp camera mount (with a pivoting ball under the camera) that I never thought of using on a car window, but it should work. It is often in my camera bag as it is small, but rarely used. It came with my tripod, which I got second hand. Along with another one that velcros onto a railing or small tree, etc. Or possibly onto a side mirror.
You may notice that the fish had not reached it’s final destination in the last photo. He flew away just after the last shot, probably for his dinner nap.
The c-clamp may be too restrictive for me so before I try one I’m going with the bean bag. Most of the shots were at 1/500 sec. so all I need is a little support and I think the bag will be sufficient.
I like the idea of bean bag too. It could probably live in the car too.
When I used to do bird photography (or maybe “try to do bird photography” is a better description) I found that “car blinds” were extremely effective. Blue Herons (and other fishing birds) get spooked very easily by people walking around with cameras, but they don’t seem to care at all about cars nearby. Of course you didn’t need to go all the way to Montezuma to see one or two of these creatures – quite a few of them spend their summers in good old Webster. The two that nest in a pond near us returned right on schedule this year (even with the lousy weather).
I still find it interesting that Blue Herons that migrate this far north seem much smaller than their southern cousins. Those that live all year in South Carolina swamps, for example, appear to be much larger. Maybe there’s more to eat down there or something…….
I’ve seen some Herons in Florida but I can’t really say for sure if they were bigger than the ones we saw at Montezuma. I would guess this guy’s wing span to be close to 4 feet, using my non-scientific system of measurement, which basically is guessing. We had to remain in the car at this stretch of road and it seems the other visitors respect that rule, as well, but we were fairly close to this bird and he didn’t seem spooked by the car.
Awesome! What a thrill.
These are great, especially the last. I wish I had some longer lenses too, especially with birds. They tend to be so far away.
Thanks, Bente. Most birds aren’t fond of human interaction, unless you’re feeding them, so the long lens is a necessity.
Great catch, Ken. It’s always an auspicious outing when I can come back home with the photo of a heron, given their general skittishness when it comes to people, or most anything that moves, save for, ironically, cars. 🙂
Thanks, Paul. I knew these birds didn’t like the company of people but I did not know that they are not bothered by the cars. We saw several cars pass very close to this bird, driving slow, but he didn’t seem to mind.
Beautiful shots and great get with the fish! Nice.
Thanks, Jane. The fish was pure luck.