Great Blue Herons are some of my favorite birds. I especially like their color combinations. They are even more elegant during mating season. These birds were photographed during my recent trip to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport, TX. We stopped at a rookery and spent quite a bit of time photographing birds building nests and preparing for their new young.
Thanks to specially shaped neck vertebrae, Great Blue Herons can curl their neck into an “S” shape for a more aerodynamic flight profile and to quickly strike prey at a distance. Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision. Despite their impressive size, Great Blue Herons weigh only 5 to 6 pounds thanks in part to their hollow bones—a feature all birds share.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III using my Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Sports Lens set on 569 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/6.3, shutter speed at 1/800th of a second and the ISO set at 100. These are the wrong setting for photographing large birds but the image turned out OK. The right settings are to set the camera on Manual Mode with the aperture at f/8, the shutter at 1/1250th of a second (or greater) and the ISO at Automatic (100-1,600 ISO). This was a single image processed in Lightroom.
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