What Empties Itself

The maple’s green hands do not cup
the proliferant rain.
What empties itself falls into the place that is open.

Jane Hirshfield
A Hand (excerpt)
Given Sugar, Given Salt

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

Great Blue Heron in the rain,

The squall snuck up on me – and the Great Blue Heron – without warning. One minute, a noticeable increase in the breeze, the next, the rains. The kayak scudded on small whitecaps before I brought her under control. The sun kept shining faintly through thin layers of clouds, and I looked for a rainbow, to no avail.

And the Great Blue Heron? She remained rooted to the upturned limb throughout, enduring wind and waterdroplets as the blue kayak and I danced on waves further out in the cove.

Instinctively, I dropped the camera below decks where it was dry, and watched the heron through (waterproof) binocs.

Surely she would go elsewhere in search of shelter? But no, she remained stoic, preening impassively, water sluicing from her feathers.

Just as leaves on a tree shed the rain.


This week’s photo challenge is endurance. Thanks to Krista and WordPress for this topic. If the heron could endure the rain, so could I. My camera gear is not waterproof, but I had the next best thing – a DIY camera housing improvised on the spot. I placed the camera in a large zip-top plastic baggie, tore a hole that snugly fit the lens opening, and took dozens of photos during the rain, with occasional pauses to wipe water droplets from the lens.

This week’s Sue’s challenge is hole. Although this photo doesn’t show the hole, it could not have been taken without a hole for the lens.

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Posted on September 22, 2014, in A Word A Week Photo Challenge, ardea herodias, Art, Audubon, Feathers, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Nature, Patience, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. What a beauty and I like that plastic baggie idea, I just may try that!

    • Thanks for your kind words, glad you like this heron. There’s something fun about shooting through baggies, probably because they’re such a low-tech solution. Pro-tip: I recommend the freezer strength bags over regular ply.

  2. Fantastic, Babsje!! 🙂

    • Many thanks for the kind comment, John, I’m glad you like this heron. Also, I have to say that I felt a momentary pang when writing my story of the rain in the face of the extreme drought you and Robin are facing. Your poetry of life there is always moving, and your stories and photos of your new calves are touching. We are having a small drought here – the lake level is down 5-6 feet from prior years, areas virtually impassable by kayak, with only about 2-3 inches of water below the surface in my favorite cove, herons moving on to other areas, and the weather man is bemoaning our parched dry, sand-like soil. If he only knew what a real life-changing experience people in your area are enduring!

  3. Such a splendid shot of the Heron. I have just arrived back after a 6 weeks holiday in Africa and have LOTS of photographs to edit and share (eventually)

    • Hi Margaret – so glad you like this one, thanks for the kind words. Your African holiday sounds exciting – looking forward to seeing some of your photos once you are caught up and have time to post them.

  4. stoic:-)I hav not been by as much this summer -been outside! I counted more Blue Herons the other day on my ride and they hang out near the Great egret often. Do you find that there? I see a single blue heron and a white egret about 20 feet down…like a pattern. They watch me but still fly off when we ride by:-)

    • Hi Robbie – glad you’ve been spending your time outside, I have been, as well. Very happy for you that you’ve been finding more and more herons. Our Egret has not returned to the lake so far this year, so no opportunities to watch herons and egrets together. Have you ever visited Phil Lanouie’s blog? He has outstanding photos of Egrets, Spoonbills, Wood. Storks, and Herons together, along with the resident Alligators!

  5. A great pic here Babsje. 🙂

  6. Babsje, what a beautiful paradox: keeping one’s footing while allowing oneself to feel all the buffeting. Thank you.

  7. Simply splendid shot, Babsje. An intensity of stillness even as the storm gathers…

  8. Thanks for the plastic bag tip! The heron looks like it has a scarf wrapped around its neck.

  1. Pingback: Great Blue Heron Photos of the Year | Babsje Heron

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