The Elusive Great Blue Heron

When I first got into photography, I took pictures of ducks, geese and just about any other indigenous bird I could find that would let me. The heron was included in my quests, except that it was not so cooperative. I have driven by the great blue while it stood ten feet from a major road. It would stand regally, unmoved by the whizzing cars. I have parked, gathered my camera, approached slowly, snapping pictures from too far away as I lessened the distance. NONE of these pictures was good. As soon as I reached an ideal photo spot the great bird would have none of it. It would turn and look at me (once I thought it even stuck its tongue out at me) and fly away.

Funny story: I had a great opportunity one morning on a slow country road driving by a pond. A blue heron was fishing right next to a driveway. I figured I wouldn't even have to get out of the car, just roll down the window, stop the car and fire away. My plan worked perfectly except when I pressed the shutter button nothing happened... dead battery :( He looked at me, I groped for one of the spare batteries, and he was gone. Frustrating.

Monday evening I was driving through Phoenixville PA when I saw one proudly surveying the roadway from atop the dam of the Pickering Creek Reservoir. I parked and prepped the camera, including checking the battery. Maybe the distance away from the road lowered me to an acceptable threat level for the heron, but he held his ground. The 300mm Sigma f/2.8 lens was perfect for the job.

Nikon D800 Sigma 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm f/4.5 ISO 400 1/1000 sec