Photo of the Week! Entry 6

Grey heron hunting

A grey heron preparing to hunt

I like herons. I see them a lot, and I feel like we are kindred spirits, in some ways, because both of us feel the need to go fishing! Quite often when I’m fishing, on the bank of a lake there will be four or five anglers sat quietly, and in one bay will be the heron. We don’t bother him, and he doesn’t bother us!

So when I was walking around the reserve, going from one hide to another, and saw this stunning bird on some tree branches above the water I couldn’t help but take a shot.

Firstly, I has to maneuver quite carefully, because I could only see him through a small break in the trees, but their eyesight is so good that I was fairly sure he could see me as well! Then I had to think about composition, I was using my 300 mm lens and at the range he was I knew I was going to have to crop, so the important thing was making sure the composition I wanted was in the frame, so that I could crop down to it later. I took the photo at around f8/9 (I can’t remember and recently cleared my Lightroom cache so I can’t look it up) because I find that although faster apertures might give better bokeh, the loss of sharpness is just too great to justify. At f9 I get much better sharpness, and the background is usually blurred enough to make the subject pop. As ever, of course, there are exceptions!

I did a bit of work in Lightroom, firstly cropping to composition that I wanted, but also enhancing the light on the heron a little to really make it stand out. It’s colours are quite similar to the branches, so I used a radial filter to slightly soften the image, aside from the heron. I know some people are not fans of the digital darkroom, but personally, my motivation is making an image that I find pleasing, and I really like this one!

So, my heron at hunt. What do you think? I would love to hear from you. Also, a question: should I include technical detail in these sections? Do you want to know my shutter speed, ISO and aperture? If you do, just leave me a comment, and I’ll start to include them.

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