Stalking the Elusive Flying Great Blue Heron - Skagit Flats

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Retief, May 8, 2005.

  1. UPDATED: A couple of folks noted that perhaps this heron looked a bitt TOO blue, and guess what, I found a little-bitty-WB issue. Suffice it to say that I had been shooting an Indoor Football game the night before.....

    See if you folks find this a touch more realistic.

    I'll just blame it on late Friday night, I'll fix the Raptors tomorrow.....

    As a few of you know, I have been frustrated this year by seeing pictures of GBH's in flight when I can't capture a decent one. So yesterday we head for Chuckanut Drive and the Skagit Flats in search of what else? Bald Eagles, of course. Next time I go out I'm going to look for Ground Hogs, since I can never find whatever it is I look for, but I find other cool "stuff" instead. We did see a couple of Eagles, but by the time we found a place to stop they decided that a change of venue was in order.

    So, as we are driving the farm field roads, I look down an irrigation ditch and see a nice GBH, just standing there. Even better, there was a place to pull off and park, and better yet a field where we could walk down the ditch to get a better vantage point.

    Stalking the Stalking GBH:
    DSC7113Frame.sized.

    So we followed him around the bend, and after missing a couple of fishing attempts the bird decided it was time to move.

    Off to Another Spot
    DSC7121Frame.sized.

    Unfortunately, the GBH didn't pick a particularly good one.

    Very Annoyed Black Birds
    DSC7134Frame.sized.

    The GBH figured it was outnumbered, so once again, time to get....

    Chased Out of the Neighborhood
    DSC7137Frame.sized.

    Movin on Down the Ditch (Road)
    DSC7138Frame.sized.

    So I circled around, out of sight of the bird, to get closer, staying below its field of vision, while Jim watched in case it moved. Suddenly the bird popped its head up, I immediately stopped so I wouldn't spook the bird. As I stopped and set the tripod, my friend the Black Bird decided this was not a good place for the GBH either. Between the two distractions, the GBH said...

    Hasta la Vista, Babeeeeeeee
    DSC7144Frame.sized.

    Not a crop in the bunch, this is the closest we have gotten to one of these birds up here. They tend to be very cautious. All-in-all, we spent a long time at this spot, and I think it paid off.
     
  2. Awesome series, with your narrative I thought I was right there on the hunt
     
  3. Bill, these are really great action shots. You should come down here. They're pretty easy to find and not too terribly skiddish. I've found if you're standing still or moving very slowly they're less likely to fly off. Sometimes I move abruptly just to get them to fly after I got my fill of stationary shots. :twisted:
     
  4. WOW....look at that BLUE!!! Nice going!! :D :D :D
     
  5. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Kevin,

    We had one just like this at the local duck pond. Very habituated.

    Bill,

    These are very good and I love the narrative. I have to ask though, are they really this blue? The ones that I've seen are more gray than these.

    In any case, nice shots and story. :wink:

    Regards,
     
  6. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  7. Thanks, Mike, good to see you here.

    The narrative helps me remember what was going on, getting old is a real, you-know-what :wink: . Plus it was FUN :!: Both the "hunt" and the "telling"....

    Thanks,
     
  8. Kevin, it just so happens that I will be traveling with the Everett Hawks NIFL team to the game in Miami on the 12th of June. I'd love to get together with a few Floridians for a day around that time, we are planning to spend an extra day or two of vacation while in the area.

    These birds are VERY skittish up here. I have seem them on a dike, across a ditch, 30 feet off the road and when I stopped they watched me and took off as soon as I opened the door. For us this was a real treat.

    Thanks,
     
  9. Thanks, Bryan. This is one of just a few that have had that much blue color. I'm not sure if it is peculiar to diet or what, but most are the more typical grey-blue, tending more to grey. Then again, my WB might be a tad cool as well, I'll go check that in a bit. But we were amazed at the color when we saw this bird yesterday "in person".
     
  10. Thanks, Frank, you can see my comment to Bryan regarding the color. I tend to prefer "Cooler" to "Warmer" to begin with, so if my WB is a tad off it would be in that direction, but this bird was more blue than most. Occasionally we see one like that, not sure if it is diet or what, but it looks really nice.

    And after my complaints about all the great flight shots of GBH, not only do I finally get some but they fill the frame :wink: .

    Now we just need to get some of the Disney birds up here.........
     
  11. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  12. Well, I never saw the "Blue" versions but these look just fine...and a great narrative series. Funny how those little blackbirds will chase away something as large as a GBH...guess he just found them too pesky to put up with ;-)
     
  13. Well, let's just say that this, the Extra Blue, is exactly the reason to shoot RAW. When I screw up, it is an easy fix :oops: .

    The RWBB's were certainly in fine form. Not only chasing the GBH, but if you look at my Raptor thread you will see them harrasing a Harrier as well.

    Thanks for the comments, it was a real ton of fun following this bird around for a while, although I need to find a better way to cary my gear to be ready for a "quick shot".
     
  14. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Bill,

    These look much better. Much more like what I'm used to seeing.

    Good job. :wink:
     
  15. The value of the folks at the Cafe.....

    Thanks, Frank, and for not saying something like "Hey, Dude, you on DRUGS or something :?: :?: :?: :?: " :lol: The funny part about this is that I remember the bird as being more "blueish" than normal, and when I first processed them my brain said "more blueish" is correct, even though they were "MORE BLUEISH" if you get my meaning. I just let that "override" the rest of my logical brain.

    As embarassing as it is, there are a some good lessons to be learned from this.

    1. ALWAYS take the time to look at your settings before doing any "button pushing"
    2. ALWAYS shoot in RAW so you can save your own sorry butt when you ignore #1 above
    3. ALWAYS look at all the words that Nikon Capture tells you, especially that little bit about what WB you actually shot with
    4. READ and REMEMBER all the bits Iliah is talking about regarding Color Temperature and how the WB setting affects this
    5. ALWAYS listen to your friends here at the CAFE and take the subtle hints
    6. NEVER be in a hurry to post stuff and fool yourself into thinking things are grand when it is late at night
    7. ALWAYS remember #1 above....

    So, now that I have "spilled my guts to the world", does anyone want to take a guess at what my In-Camera WB was initially set to? Perhaps I should pop this into the "Technical" forum with the "Before and After" shot.
     
  16. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    I would assume that it was flash.
     
  17. Nope, that would be WAY too easy :lol:

    I'll give you a hint. Friday night I was shooting the Everett Hawks, Indoor Football, at the Everett Event Center. This facility was built to house the Everett SilverTips hockey team, so the field is the same size as a hockey rink. I shoot flash on the D70 for the "close" shots, but not with the longer lens on the D2H. Now, what kind of WB do you think you might set for this? I am thinking that an explanation in the Tech forum might be of use to others, as it is a good illustration of what Iliah is explaining regarding Color Temperature and White Balance.
     
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