Eye of the Beholder

The Louvre’s ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’ Is Set For A Restoration Next Month

The Wall Street Journal

Great blue heron stretching her wing deep in the cove.

Great blue heron stretching her wing deep in the cove.

My favorite statue is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a 2nd century BC Grecian statue of the goddess Nike that’s part of the collections in the Louvre. (I’m not placing her photo here out of respect for copyright, but there are many images to be found online.)

WordPress today has asked us to describe what we feel in the presence of beauty. When faced with great beauty, I feel any of the following, and sometimes all: reverence, awe, inspiration, elevation, joy, stillness, oneness, peace, enamored, a sense of man’s smallness such as when viewing meteors or other celestial events, and more.

Coming back to Winged Victory and her magnificent marble wing. I like to think that the unknown artist who sculpted her more than two thousand years ago was enamored of herons and may have felt some of those same emotions. Surely a heron could have been the model for her wings: the carved detailing of the feathers, the size and shape of the wings and the way the statue carries her wings – they all point to a bird like the heron. Or, perhaps the artist simply had an outstanding imagination and didn’t use an actual wing as a model. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I see beauty in the herons, and that beauty elicits many of the emotions I mentioned above.

This post features some of my favorite herons. I hope you enjoy them.

Great blue heron preening Columbus Day weekend.

Great blue heron preening

Great blue heron yearling number 2 - this yearling fledged in 2012.

Great blue heron yearling

Great blue heron with flowering grasses in small pond.

Great blue heron with flowering grasses

Great blue heron fishing in water falling over a dam in the Charles River Watershed.

Great blue heron fishing at a dam

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Thanks to Michelle W. and WordPress for the Daily Prompt: Eye of the Beholder nudge.

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(This took place From 2005-2013)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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Posted on October 5, 2013, in ardea herodias, Art, Bird photography, Birds, daily prompt, Great Blue Heron, Nature Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. As you know, I agree with you 100% that the Great Blue is one of the most beautiful of the wading birds, along with the Great Egret.

    • Thanks, Bob! Yes, you’re right, the great blue and also the great egret and magnificent birds. We are richer for having them in the world. best, Babsje

  2. Your photos demonstrate why really looking at a heron requires more than just a quick glance. They invite an emotional response. There is so much grace and beauty in the bird.

  3. Hi Babje – by complete coincidence, and since it’s been mentioned, I’ve just put up some Great Egrets here http://rollingharbour.com/2013/10/05/white-sound-abaco-mangroves-mud-really-great-egrets/ All the best from Rolling Harbour

  4. What a stunning statue, that is! I agree with you that the Great Blue Heron is a magnificent bird. Your photos are wonderful, Babsje. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, I’m glad you like Vinged Victory, too. She is being refurbished as we speak, and I hope they are able to clear the grime and get the marble back to circa 190 BC condition. You always say the nicest things about my herons – thanks again for your support and encouragement!

  5. I always think I have see something when I see a heron – I spent a lot of time last week trying to get some pictures of one of our species – but they mainly ended up in the “trash can” – to small, to far away!

    Cheers – Stewart M – Melbourne.

    PS: sorry for slow reply – I have been out of phone / Internet range for most of the week – it was strangely pleasant!

    • Hi Stewart! Sometimes wonderful to be untethered from our electronics, I agree with you.

      I know what it feels like when a heron ends up too small or too far away, myself at those times in the field, I have to content myself with viewing through my binoculars, which are higher magnification than my camera’s lenses. Still, even when no photo comes of it, as you inter – its always something special to see a heron. Thanks for commenting, and thanks for hosting Wild Bird Wednesday.

  6. The photo of the heron near the waterfall is stunning. You captured the moment perfectly.

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