Turning on a dime

A heron prepares to land on a cement breakwater, Mandeville, Louisiana. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

A heron prepares to land on a cement breakwater, Mandeville, Louisiana. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

I was out shooting yesterday morning before dawn, working the early ebb and flow of a low tide on Lake Pontchartrain in the hour before the sun would come up. Long exposures, tripod, electronic cable release and flashlight. I was comfortable and happy as I worked through the compositions that I was encountering, in my element, shooting the early morning ethereal beauty that was the reason I had gotten out of bed in the first place.

But the shore birds had other ideas.

For some reason on this morning, the herons and other long-legged creatures that fish for breakfast in the early morning had decided I was not a threat, and continued to stalk their morning breakfast right up close to where I was trying to work….hell! It’s hard to pass up great wildlife opportunities, even if what you’re working on is something else entirely. Eventually I gave in, slapped on a 70-200mm zoom, upped my ISO and paid some respectful attention to the white heron you see here.

A heron working on breakfast. Canon 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/2000th sec @ f2.8, ISO 400. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

A heron working on breakfast. Canon 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/2000th sec @ f2.8, ISO 400. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

It’s funny how we can walk out the door with one idea and encounter something else entirely! I actually made a couple of images that have real possibilities before this heron insisted on some attention. It was a joy to watch though: even at 1/2000th of a second and an 8 fps motor drive, the lightning-fast move that this bird could make when zapping some prey was almost too much for my super-duper camera (Canon EOS 1D Mark IV) to capture.

Decisive moment, indeed!

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Inspire

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

3 Comments on "Turning on a dime"

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  1. Guy says:

    WOW!

  2. Maria says:

    Awesome catch Andrew. I actually didn’t know that a Heron was a fast bird. I’ve always looked at it like it was a bit clumsy. 🙂

    Regards,
    Maria

  3. Good point, Maria. I guess they’re fast where it counts, no?

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