Grey Heron

Two of my favourite Grey Heron shots were taken on the same day. The conditions were unusually calm and I was trying for mirror shots – perfect reflections. I think I came close with one. The other was a near miss.

Grey Heron reflection The itchAnd here is a flight shot of the same species.

Grey HeronOnce again I find it intriguing how the light can make the plumage look warm, neutral or cold. It is always hard to decide whether to clean up the twigs and reeds in the water or leave them be. I know some photographers spend ages removing every trace that ‘interferes’ with the cleanliness and purity of the image. In the top one I removed a few sticks that were very close to the heron. In the middle one I did nothing. I think it is a matter of taste. I was surprised how few heron images I have. I think many of us tend to ignore them because we see them so often. We focus on small active or pretty birds and large grey flappy things get little attention. A Gallic shrug and a “Pah – just another heron” – the bird is gone. It takes golden light or mirror-calm water to merit paying attention to one of these chaps. And with a big lens they often don’t fit in the frame. I already have my stonechat project running. Maybe 2014 should be the year of the heron rather than the horse.

23 thoughts on “Grey Heron

  1. Without knowing what you had done to the images, I loved the one with the few grasses. There was something natural yet faintly abstract about the composition. Just a little punctuation to a stunning image.

  2. The heron in flight captures the magic of the moment, the thrust and rush of power and purpose. But the middle heron reflects a concentration, an analytical pause that captures my imagination.
    You have a talent for showing perspectives that rewrite stories, Andrew.

  3. It is amazing how the color changes with the light comparing the first two with the last.

    I’ve always had a hard time figuring when to use “grey” and when to use “gray”. Kind of like effect and affect or compliment and compliment, I guess.

    • I can do effect / affect and compliment / complement but I agree, grey / gray is confusing. What we need is a much simpler spelling system. Or should that be speling sistum?

  4. Wowsers! That second one is absolutely magic, it’s perfect, Andrew. I was so excited as a child seeing my first heron. I must have been quite young and I was playing in the fields when I spotted it. I’d never seen such an enormous bird, I raced home and drew it for my mum. I had a drawing book and used to record all the birds that I saw and write their names underneath. I think I must have been about 7 at the time. I was convinced that it was a stork but mum put me right.

    • I’m sure a stork looked a good candidate Lottie but obviously your drawing skills were good enough for your mum to know what it really was. I can’t draw at all, which is a nuisance. I do envy you.

  5. I love herons – especially the Great Blue that we see here. Often when canoeing early in the morning we will come across one in the shallows. But they are quite skittery (sic) here and tend to fly off rarely quickly. Also, its very difficult to get good close up photos from a canoe. Those are some of my excuses – if you need more let me know.
    I love all three images. The first has zen-like qualities. The second shows the clutter of the natural world – it’s supposed to be like that. The third is just plain wonderful (or plane).

    • Rod, they are very skittish and it is hard to get close. It is one of the few species where I would say it is easier to photograph them in flight than on the ground – unless you are in a blind.

  6. I followed you from your astute comment on Marylin Warner’s website to your own. The photography is inspiring- and your analysis of detail, even the not-so-beautiful is insightful. You are invited to visit “plainandfancygirl” any time you like.

  7. I hadn’t noticed ’til you mentioned the ‘clean-up’ of the first Heron photo, Andrew, having just scrolled back again, and again, I found my eyes resting quite easily on the first Heron, whilst the other my eyes ‘worked’ ’round the whole photo, taking in the reeds/twigs and then the Heron. Whichever way, I enjoyed both and the reflections added an extra dimension. xPenx

  8. Those are beautiful photos, made so by a beautiful bird. Your common herons must be the equivalent of our common seagulls – or monkeys. Love the mirror image ideas, the most I have ever managed was Annapurna, at least it wasn’t moving. I think tweaking is ok, but I like to see the before and afters, it is so much fun to decide which one people prefer. The bottom pic looks unreal. Very Audobon.

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