“Great Blue Heron Reflection” by Robin Conover
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 100-400 mm,
4.5-5.6 L USMlens, ISO 400, f8 at 1/500 sec., Gitzo tripod
I went out on a dreary, cold day a few weeks ago to see if I could capture any images of migrating waterfowl. Tennessee is directly in the flight path for numerous types of waterfowl as they migrate from the North to the South in the fall and reverse their course in the spring. Many stop and winter here, offering great opportunities to photograph birds you don’t see every day.
This particular overcast day was still with little wind, making the surface of the water a perfect reflecting pool. I began to see the simple lines and the monochromatic palette as a great opportunity if I could find the right subject. Though I didn’t see any of the waterfowl I was after that day, I eventually came upon this great blue heron fishing from a tree that had recently been felled by beavers. Herons, by the way, are common throughout Tennessee year-round.
Carrying only a long lens and a tripod, I moved as close as I could without disturbing the heron. I found a fairly clear vantage point from the lake’s edge. The out-of-focus brown blotches are leaves about half way between us.
Preferably, those leaves would not have been in the way. I could Photoshop them, but the journalist in me is firmly against adding or subtracting content to or from my images.
Using the “rule of thirds,” I placed the heron in the left third of the frame. The reflection helped add symmetry to the composition. I photographed the heron for about 30 minutes as it watched for fish below. It eventually waded closer to the bank to fish in shallower water.
While the heron didn’t have much luck catching prey as I was watching that day, it helped me capture mine.