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Hold Still Heron!

With this blog, I thought I might occasionally explain the making of a photograph...a sort of "behind the scenes" of a particular photo. Today I explain how I managed to get a Great Blue Heron and a waterfall. :)

One day I was with a friend at the arboretum and we went into the Japanese garden. I was surprised to see a Great Blue Heron there, as I had never seen one at the arboretum before. We watched it for a long time and I took many close up photos of it as it stood around the water. We decided it was eyeing the koi fish for a big lunch, but it never actually attempted to catch one.

After the bird moved around a bit, I thought I might try to get a shot of the bird and the waterfall in the background, so I carefully and quietly moved to the other side of the garden. In order to get a smooth, blurred appearance for a waterfall picture, I would need to use a very slow shutter speed, but usually, to take a photo of a bird that could move quickly, I used a fast shutter speed. I knew that herons can stand perfectly still for long amounts of time as they look for fish, so I took a chance and slowed my shutter speed. I also balanced my camera on a rock or fence post to steady it, since I wasn't using a tripod. Then I just prayed that he would hold sill and the camera wouldn't shake! In the end, I settled for a slightly blurred waterfall and sharp focus on the heron. With any other fast-moving bird this photo would not have been possible...but the heron was thankfully quite cooperative.

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