Sparring Herons -- Birch Bay, WA

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by icassell, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    #1

    [​IMG]

    #2

    [​IMG]

    #3

    [​IMG]

    #4

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Fantastic heron sequence! Numbers 2 and 3 are very strong on their own....and in the 4th shot, the defeated bird seems to have a feather or two falling out and floating in mid-air as he beats a hasty retreat.

    Herons, when riled, are pretty nasty,combative birds. About 10 years ago, my fishing partner and I watched a great blue heron kick the "tail" of an osprey that came in and taunted it. Both birds wanted to perch in an old dead snaggy tree above the salmon-fishing hole we were in, probably because at that time of year, dead or injured steelhead smolts would wash up to the top and swirl around in the eddy of the hole--IOW, a prime fishing spot was the source of the argument. After a 15 second fight, the osprey flew off, and the heron was triumphant.
     
  3. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Derrel. I must admit that I've never seen herons go at it like this before. In fact, I've never seen this many Great Blues at one time. I'm on vacation this week in Birch Bay, WA (Just across from the Canadian border) and this place is crawling with them. This scene was my fault. I was driving along with my daughter and we saw one of these herons so we stopped to shoot some pix. We were a bit loud so, as we got out of the car, it took off and decided to land right where the other one was already parked. The above fight ensued lasting less than about 15-30 seconds in total.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Herons actually do a lot of their hunting (fishing) in shallow water, often from the same productive spot for days and weeks on end, like the inside bend of a river where a gravel bar or shoal above will allow or force injured fish or smaller fish close to shore; in both lakes and shallow bays, oftentimes the shore where wind-driven or tidally-induced waves pushes small fish close to shore is a preferred fishing spot for a heron. They don't seem to like to fly as much as other large birds, and when another heron comes close to another that is actively hunting (fishing), a squabble often ensues.

    They are very smart birds, and if you frequent the same place for a time period of more than about a week, they will either develop trust in you and allow you to fish near them, OR they will immediately fly away from you every time. There seems to be little middle ground in their handling of humans. They are quite amazing birds.
     
  5. Reece Man

    Reece Man TPF Noob!

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    Great shots! If it were me though I would crop out the shore line and maybe reduce the black a little.
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Hmmmm ... I thought about cropping out the shore and tried it a couple of ways, but I think the shore adds something. What do you mean reduce the black? Unfortunately I came across this scene with the sun behind the birds putting them in silhouette.
     
  7. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    And here is how it ended ...
     

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  8. Reece Man

    Reece Man TPF Noob!

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    In Photoshop it's called black level I believe (haven't used PS for a long time), in NX2 it's called shadow protection. It will bump the exposure of the blacks making the birds more visible and less like silhouettes. It will look a little bland after you do that so you'll need to bump the contrast afterward. Of course if you were going for the silhouette look then disregard my words because it looks great as it is. I'm just offering my .02
     
  9. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I tried a couple of different crops.

    Also I'd appreciate thoughts about the tonal range. Do you like the true silhouette better or when I preserve the shades of grey of the herons?

    Thoughts?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Played a bit more and think I like it this way ... Thoughts?


    [​IMG]
     
  11. Reece Man

    Reece Man TPF Noob!

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    Love that last one!
     
  12. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I really like #3 and definitely thought it could be cropped a little bit. I like the last crop the most I think but would almost like to see them more centered.
     

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