This image, Great Blue Heron in Breeding Plumage, is May’s featured photograph in my 2010 Lowcountry Calendar and at my website http://www.southernlight.biz/. Stalking and getting close to wildlife is a thrill second only to getting the picture; a thrill I discovered in my youth as a hunter. Without getting too graphic, I always enjoyed the hunt, but not the kill and post work. It was over three decades ago when I traded my hunting rifle for a camera.
Getting close to wildlife is as much a thrill today as in my youth and remains a great challenge. This portrait was taken from inside my photo blind. I set it up on a brackish water pond several days prior to give the birds time to get use to it. I was watching shorebirds that had been roosting overnight. All the wading birds were in the middle of the pond feeding until a Bald Eagle flew overhead and all the birds took to the air. When everything settled back down, this Great Blue Heron landed close to the blind. He flinched when he first heard my shutter but remained posing for several minutes before he shoved off in search of more productive fishing.
Yellowlegs - shot from the same blind
Photo tip: Successful wildlife photographers draw from an assortment of tools to gain closer access to their subjects. These include but are not limited to: telephoto lenses for shooting at a distance; photo blinds or camouflage clothing as disguise and to help blend with the environment. Other tools include using wind direction, sitting quietly, stalking and working out of different vehicles as moving blinds. The success of this shot was predicated on the use of the photo blind …and of course luck helped. I must thank the Bald Eagle for his assist with the flyover.