Beautiful Great Blue Herons Simply Unretouched

What a moment of joy when a photograph downloads from the camera exactly as hoped.


© Babsje (

Great blue heron diving beneath the surface.

What photographer hasn’t experienced that moment of joy and surprise when a photo comes out exactly as hoped for, no digital magic needed or wanted. The photo is complete as-is, in and of itself. It was an exciting surprise to see the golden-hour sun backlighting water bubbles splashing high above the Great Blue Heron as she dove beneath the surface. Experiences like that are perfect fodder for Cee’s Hunt for Joy challenges.

Readers of this blog know I’m both fine art photographer and nature photographer, but I’m also a photojournalist, a stringer for a national newspaper syndicate. The rules are vastly different for fine art and photojournalism. In journalism, no editing is permitted, not even a single pixel can be adjusted, and often times even cropping is not allowed. For fine art, sometimes it seems the opposite is expected – what makes it ‘Art’ is the artist-photographer’s manipulation of the image.

© Babsje (

Great blue heron preening Columbus Day weekend.

The three photos shown here today have not been edited, each came out of the camera as shown. Chronologically, the middle photo of the Great Blue Heron preening was captured first; followed by the top photo of the same Heron ducking beneath the surface in hopes of landing a fish, followed by the third shot of the exultant Heron making off with a huge Pike. If that sequence isn’t the embodiment of Cee’s Hunt for Joy concept, I don’t know what is.

Great blue heron lands a large fish.

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for their new April Discover Prompts series. Like many others, I have been missing the WordPress challenges. Today, the topic is Discover Prompts: Light . The backlit bubbles were not retouched. The photo came right out of the camera like that..


This post is dedicated to the Lens Artist ladies (Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya) and to Cee Neuner, all of whom encourage and inspire.

This week, the Lens Artists focus on Simplicity. The three Heron photos embody simplicity – no editing, straight from the camera. The simplest of work-flows. WYSIWYG

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 91: Simplicity .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 91: Simplicity .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 91: Simplicity .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 91: Simplicity .

Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy.

From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.

Many of the photos in the exhibit were shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.

Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

During September and October, 2018, the Great Blue Herons were featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2020 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick

Posted on April 12, 2020, in ardea herodias, Art, Birds, Fine art, Great Blue Heron, Photo Essay, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Tranature - quiet moments in nature

    Fabulous images Babsje, thank you so much for sharing 💚

  2. I love the colors in the preening shot. Simply beautiful!

    • Hi Patti. I’m so glad you like this one, it’s one of my own favorites. Many thanks for your comment about the colors – it was a gorgeous autumn day and the leaves reflected perfectly on the water. I was in the right place at the right time. Best, Babsje

  3. On the time of film, what we have taken was what the photo IS. When I got the skill to predict what the exact image will be, I thought that now I AM the photographer. Digital photography has no such tension.

  4. Beautiful photos! I know just what you mean about a picture capturing just what you wanted it to! 🙂

    • Hi Debby Many thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you know what it feels like when a photo comes out exactly the way we want. It’s such a rewarding feeling. Best, Babsje

  5. These are quite beautiful Babsje, and very impressive for SOOC. Didn’t realize you were a stringer – good for you! Thanks for your kind words about our challenge as well.

    • Hi Tina – Thanks for your kind comment. Glad you liked this series of the GBH. After she landed the fish, it took a full 30 minutes to swallow. I bet she didn’t eat again for quite a while. And yep, being a stringer is like being in the “gig-economy.” Sometimes fun and exciting, but no set beat so rather unpredictable. Best, Babsje

  6. What an utterly marvelous sequence! Art no matter how you look at it.

  7. Simply beautiful, Babsje! And interesting about the different kinds of photographic work!

  8. These are spectacular photos, especially the first one – the golden sin reflection in the water makes it magical. Great post! By the way please join my blog too, if you find it interesting – let’s grow together!😊

    • Many thanks for your kind compliment. I’m glad you like that photo – it’s one of my own favorites. I was in the right place at the right time. Best, Babsje

  9. I didn’t know you were a stringer. There aren’t too many in these days of all digital photography. Hope you’ve been well, staying well, staying safe.

    • Many thanks David. I hope you and your own family are keeping safe and healthy in these challenging days…Being a stringer is like the photography equivalent of a gig-economy gig. Staff photographers at media outlets have been pared to the bone if not outright eliminated and so many regular reporters have been issued cameras now for when they’re out in the field, too. The staff photogs have their established beats but sometimes stringers can be in the right place at the right time for the capture. Take care. Best, Babsje

  10. Nice post and a good catch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: