Been a little hesitant to make another post after the blistering I took for the less that tack sharp images from the previous post. This was mainly due to a few of the following shots being a little bit off as well.. hey, let’s go with the “style” excuse. Actually, there is a reason for the ones below that are less than crispy. All of these are flight shots taken while hand holding The Beast. I’ve been working out but it’s going to take some extra reps and protein before I’ll feel comfortable chasing birds across the sky with an 8 pound glass. I also have not committed to limiting the travel of the glass so once it focuses off the bird it is burden to get it back on target. This isn’t so much an excuse as it is a celebration of success when one hits the tin in decent condition. All in all, the following set isn’t that bad .. not gallery potential.. but still worth posting.
Today’s set features not one, but TWO birds and not those tiny Finch types. When these fly over your head you take notice and every critter under 3 pounds has a near heart attack. Although, if it isn’t already dead or prefer the water, these two birds are probably going to leave it alone. One is a majestic bird of grace and color (the good) and one makes you wonder if they were designed by Wes Craven (the ugly). Both were taken at Devil’s lake near Baraboo, Wisconsin.
First out of the gate is the Blue Heron. This is not an unfamiliar bird to the blog (see here) and that is because it is one of my favorite shooting targets. They are interesting to look at and have the photo friendly trait of remaining motionless for long periods of times – perfect for longer exposures when you want to push the ISO down as much as possible. When we arrived at Devil’s Lake, we really didn’t see a lot of birds in the water (correction.. didn’t see ANY birds in the water) which was not the way I wanted to start the Wisconsin vacation. The large rocks around the lake made a really nice setting. So much that Linda decided she wanted to take a few shots of her for the business site. With the longer glass I was standing back a ways to take the shots when all of a sudden a Heron landed on a rock about 20 feet from where Linda was sitting. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing – we were just about the only ones in the area with plenty of more solitaire places all around the lake. The camera settings were manually configured for portrait mode which didn’t lend itself to bird shots. By the time I got everything adjusted, the Heron took flight again.
The battle was on to keep the glass on the bird while it gathered air under its long wings. There is one thing more enjoyable to watch than a Heron on the ground stalking dinner and that is a Heron taking flight. Those long wings fold out, the neck curves back and those feet come together to complete the aerodynamics. From afar, those legs are often mistaken for long tail feathers. Every time I see one of these creatures sailing through the air I immediately think of my early school years when they taught us about the Pterodactylus .. my favorite member of the Jurassic Period (and probably the early seeding of my desire to become an archeologist) – editors note: I am still bitter of being taught the lie of the Brontosaurus .. I also want my planet Pluto back but I’ll save that rant for another time.
Here is another shot of the bird. I was doing my best to pan along the flight path trying to keep the single focus point on the bird’s eye – thank god for Rear Focus allowing me to keep the focus where I wanted it. The raised tips at the extent of both wings give a nice composition. Not sure if I like the sand coming into the frame yet, but I was at the mercy of the bird’s flightpath.
Hit the jump to read more about the Heron and the bonus bird.