Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron Stalking prey at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron stalking prey in a marshJuvenile Black-crowned Night Heron stalking prey at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Normally I don’t care for images where there is some type of out feature in front of the subject but in this image I like the out of focus foreground grass because it lends a sense of habitat to the frame. Black-crowned Night Herons often hunt along marshes, creeks, lakes and other impoundments of water where there is ample vegetation. This might be a bit too messy for some people’s tastes though I find it appealing myself. I’m not sure, is it too messy or not?


* I am away again, please feel free to share this post with your family and friends and thanks for the comments you leave.

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. very impressive this eye, and a god presentaiton, bravo ☺

  2. Love it, but I think the starkness of the eye is the most appealing aspect.

  3. I agree the out of focus foreground is in JUST the right place. Stunning shot!

  4. Nope. It makes for another great shot. These are your pics so who cares what others think. It’s fun to go against the norm. My attitude is…..if I get a great ID shot of a bird, I can start playing around artistically with that bird when I see it again:) I’m imagining that you have seen most of the birds in North America:)

    • Chris, I’m probably not close to seeing all of the birds in North America, I’d need to head to the west coast for some and spend time during migration in Alaska as well as more time in AZ. But I sure want to see them all! Thanks for your comment.

  5. If you wouldn’t have told me it was glass, I wouldn’t have known. I consider these foreground elements as ‘foreground bokeh’ and I usually get it quite often when I’m shooting low on the ground. Broad leaves, blades of grass also provoke it and I love it!. It doesn’t matter what it is, it looks great! These are the bonuses you don’t get with a point & shoot camera. With such you would have seen the border of the glass. I’ve been tempted to buy those ultra zoom point & shoot cameras which now go up to 40x with the zoom! Some even go up to 50x! But I back up from the idea because I know I will lose the ‘bokeh’.

    • Oh excuse me, you said “grass”, I didn’t have my glasses on and I thought I read “glass”. Yes, I like it a lot.

    • Maria, the Canon SX50 takes wonderful images and is small enough to carry around in a purse, a friend showed me his images and they had a lovely Bokeh. I can’t do that with my tiny Nikon P & S though.

  6. Speaking as one who has remained prone in the wet sand/mud/grass for extended periods waiting for a heron to emerge enough to provide a photo opportunity — I like it!

    The foreground does not detract from the subject, rather it graphically demonstrates a “sense of place”, for the heron as well as the photographer.

  7. I like it. You can see the face and get a sense of where it’s at.

  8. I agree with Sam. If the entire bird were partially obscured by the OOF foreground, I would not be so positive. But the head, eye and bill of the heron is not obscured and SO SHARP and detailed that everything else becomes secondary (but still contributing).

  9. Definitely not too messy! Sometimes when I’m getting pictures I get some green leaves or other colors blurred in the foreground; it adds to the sense of seclusion for the bird in the picture as well as, as you said it, gives a sense of habitat for the bird.

  10. Carroll Tarvin

    Aesthetically I love it! I also love your explanations and look forward to this every morning. Thank you.

  11. Hi Mia, I love it! I also often prefer images with clear foregrounds/backgrounds but seeing this beautiful heron emerging from the reeds is just perfect and much more typcial of what bird photography is actually about.

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