Nights with a Heron

A couple of weeks ago I discovered a location where a Great Blue Heron roosts. In the edge of a swamp very close to a dirt road that I sometimes drive down. I had Tim hold a spotlight on him and created a few photographs. Great blue herons, being diurnal, are mostly active during the day and roost up high in trees during the night. I was pretty excited about our discovery, because I knew there was a pretty good chance he would return to this very tree in the nights to come. 

With that in mind, we went back a night or so later with hopes to see him again. I had a idea of a photograph I wanted to create. It would be without using the artificial light, but instead using the available natural light. My plan was to create a silhouette shot of him with the background full of stars. Unfortunately I was only able to create one image before he flew away. I didn't like that we had spooked him so I wanted wait a few nights before coming back. This Saturday night I returned.

 Heron surrounded by stars. The long exposure along with him moving created the illusion that he has more than two legs.

Heron surrounded by stars. The long exposure along with him moving created the illusion that he has more than two legs.

Being very cautious I took my time driving down the road, cut my lights off and slowly drove up to the tree. I wanted to get another try at creating the image with him & the stars. When I first arrived there was a low cloud bank & I was unable to see the stars. With nothing else to do at 10pm on a Saturday night, I decided to sit & wait. Without leaving my truck, I carefully set up my tripod just outside through the window. I attached my camera, found the settings I was happy with and waited patiently. After about 30 minutes or so the clouds began to lift & move out. I created a few images before the heron tucked his head down, one leg up and began sleep. I watched him for a while and since he was pretty much done for the day I decided to packed everything up and go home. I will be returning to see if I can anymore images & hopefully some better ones.

 The 15 second exposure showing the heron in the foreground, stars and moving clouds in the background.

The 15 second exposure showing the heron in the foreground, stars and moving clouds in the background.

Would love to know your thoughts! Leave some love, also find me on Facebook & Instagram.

Cheers,

Neil