So Close!

One moment the great blue heron was a blur headed right towards the kayak and the next, he swerved to the side and banked swiftly upwards. Climbing, climbing.

Great blue heron soaring above the cove in Autumn.

Great blue heron soaring above the cove in Autumn.

I didn’t see the great blue heron until he was almost upon me, speeding west towards the channel as I paddled the kayak east, deeper into the cove. One moment he was a blur headed right towards me and the next, directly overhead – a streak of grey feathers against early autumn leaves. So close!

All I could do was aim the camera and pan.

And if both hands weren’t already occupied holding both the camera and kayak paddle, I would have crossed my fingers in hope that the photo would work out.

I only got off one frame during that encounter, the photo in this post.

Usually I don’t engage in meta talk about the photos – the photos should be part of the story of the herons, rather than having the story be about any photographic techniques. In this case, though I’m making an exception. The motion blur in this photo is all natural, not the product of any digital darkroom magic. Given that it was taken from a moving kayak, hand held, and that the heron was flying exceedingly fast and in the opposite direction from my own heading, this photo had a very high degree of difficulty.

What a lovely autumn day it was that day at the lake with the heron.


Thanks again to Verena for the Festival of Leaves opportunity.


(This photo was taken October 5, 2008)

© 2013 Babsje. (

Posted on October 19, 2013, in ardea herodias, Art, Bird photography, daily prompt, Festival of Leaves, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Nature Photography, Photography, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Good shot! The blurred background certainly tells the story of a high-speed chase with the lens and provides an unusual and effective setting.

  2. Such an excellent capture.

  3. that shot is stellar,I think you should look for a wildlife photo competition and enter it

    • Hi John – I’m so glad you like this one, and good idea, thanks! I only had one chance at the capture and so I’m pleased that it worked out. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Beautiful beautiful!!!

  5. If I were to hang a portrait on my wall,
    that I had not done. This would be a
    prime candidate!!

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