Beautiful Great Blue Heron at the Waterfall

© Babsje (

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall

It is very easy to become absorbed – too absorbed – by the scene unfolding through the lens.

I’ve written in the past about one of the dangers facing photographers – the way technology can get in the way of “experiencing” what is happening now, how we as photographers can miss the moment IN the moment by working so hard to preserve the scene for future viewing. Back then, I wrote

Suddenly, I wished I had brought a camera, and then just as quickly, I dismissed that wish – had the camera been there, I would have missed that experience. Instead of sharing stillness with the heron, I would have been absorbed in things like aiming and focusing and f-stops and bracketing and all of the composition things we do; by then the heron would have flown away, alarmed by my fidgeting with the gadgetry, and I would have missed the moment.

Yesterday, I came face to face with a different danger facing photographers who become too absorbed by the scene within their viewfinder: I was so engrossed with following the Great Blue Heron through my lens that I nearly stepped over the edge into clear air.

Every couple of years, we read news stories of people falling off cliffs or going into waterfalls while taking photos.

Now I know how easily that can happen.

One more step, and I would have been in the water below the falls.


Thanks to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge.

Thanks also to Cee for hosting Cee’s Black & White Challenge.

And thanks to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday. (My photo today has nothing to do with her topic this week – macro photography – but her offerings in b&w are striking.)

Lastly, thanks to Jen H and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Motion. It was definitely a challenge to capture the motion in this scene: the cascading water sluicing over the rocks moved at a different pace than the water tumbling over the falls, and so keeping the focus sharp was tricky, and even moreso when the Great Blue Heron burst into flight.

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™

© 2015 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron

Posted on June 14, 2015, in ardea herodias, Art, Black & White Sunday, Cee's Black & White Challenge, Great Blue Heron, Monochrome Madness Challenge, Monochrome Monday, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. I will (walk slowly and carry a long lens). This winter I have taken a few photos of a heron, but did not think about converting it to black and white. Yours is great, Babsje.

  2. Ooh, that made me feel really nervous – being so absorbed with your subject that you step off into space. Please don’t do that again, Babsje 🙂 I’m sure you won’t. But you are so right too that attention focused through a lens can leave you with the image but not the full experience of BEING there. So many dilemmas.

    • Many thanks for your concern, Tish! You’re right, I won’t let it happen again for sure. I surprised myself at getting so close to the edge. It would not have been an extreme fall, but since my mobile phone fell from my kayak to Davy Jones’ Locker less than ten days ago, it would have been especially bad to have anything happen to my camera. Thanks for your kind comment, glad you like this one. Best, Babsje

  3. I’m very glad that you did not step into clear air and are still blogging! 🙂

  4. Great shot.

  5. Babsje, This is a beautiful image, all the more powerful for being in black and white, the bird so composed and intact, the water charged and almost explosive. I am so glad you did not go over the edge, except with excitement about what you were seeing. That is edge enough.

    • Hi Gary – Many thanks for your sensitive reading of this photo, I love the way you describe the contrast between the serene Heron and the explosive waterfall. The power of that water cannot be understated, nor how very loud it sounds. The Heron must be vulnerable when fishing there – unable to hear over the noise of the falling water, unlikely to hear an approaching predator. And you’re right, the excitement of being there was edge enough, glad I didn’t go for a swim, too. Best, Babsje

  6. Well…Seems to be a bit too risky!!! First your phone, then your camera…That is not so terrible if you compare with your life! Take a lot of care..Few months ago here in Spain a girl fell down while trying to make a nice pic! Herons will always be there!!!

    • I’m so glad you liked this one, and many thanks for your kind words of concern. You’re right (I hope), the Herons will always be there, and photographers need to be careful. I’m sorry to hear about that girl who fell in Spain. It seems a couple of times each year, a sad story like that makes the news. Best, Babsje

  7. Keep giving us beautiful photos AND watch your step, Babsje.

    • Hi Ann – Thanks so much, happy to hear from you, glad you like this photo. And yes, watching my step even more carefully now. Best, Babsje

  8. Beautifully captured in black and white. 😀 Stunning photo!

    • Hi Cee – So glad you like this one, many thanks for your kind comment, and thanks again for hosting your delightful photo challenges. Best, Babsje

  9. Well, expressed! Sometimes I get twitchy when something magical is before me, I realize I don’t have my camera and forget that it really isn’t about the mechanical eye, anyhow. It’s about the moment…and maybe the message, as well.

    • Hi Susanissima – Speaking of magical, so often your own posts can be described with that word. I’m glad you like this one, thanks for your kind words. Best, Babsje

  10. Glad to hear that you stopped in time! I lost a shoe in a mudflat while photographing a heron – my husband had to pull me out!

    • Hi Lynn – Oh no, you really lost your shoe?! Good thing your husband was able to pull you out, that must have been touch-and-go for you there for a few moments. Herons will do that to us – their stillness can be mesmerizing – for me, it becomes a meditation, and it is easy for time and surroundings to almost disappear. Thanks for sharing your own Heron story. Best, Babsje

  11. Two of my favourite subjects in one beautiful composition 🙂

  12. Great use of black and white. Love these birds.

    Cheers – Stewart M – Melbourne (for a couple of days!)

    • Hi Stewart (in Melbourne) – Thanks so much, I’m glad to hear that you like the Herons, too. Is it Grey Herons you have there or do you have Great Blues? Or even the Purple Herons? I would love to see one of those. Best, Babsje

  13. Congratulations! I have chosen this post to be featured on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge.
    I sure hope you are having a terrific week.

  14. Be careful out there! I somehow have been missing your posts – will try to do better!

  15. Wonderful photo, Babsje. I’m so happy that you didn’t step over the edge, as I’m sure you are too. 🙂

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