Great Blue Heron portraitGreat Blue Heron up close – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

When I am out photographing birds I always appreciate when I am able to get close enough to them to get portrait frames of them because a portrait can show fine details that an image from further away can’t.

One December morning in 2008 I was sitting in the sand at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach in Florida when a Great Blue Heron came up and perched on a driftwood stump that had washed up onto the shore. The heron was close enough that at 400mm I was able to get frame filling portraits of it. In this frame I can see that the Great Blue’s eyes are not just a solid yellow, I can see that the outer portion of the eyeball actually has some red and orange and I can see how there is salt encrusted on the bill and the lores. I can also make out a lot of fine detail in the heron’s plumage.

Great Blue Heron on a stickGreat Blue Heron on a stick – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/750, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 120mm, natural light, not baited

A few minutes after I took the frame above I backed up my zoom to 120mm so that I could photograph the entire heron and although the fine details are still very evident it is more difficult to see the orange and red in the Great Blue’s eyes and to make out the salt on the bill and lores.

So; whenever it is possible I love to get images of the entire bird and close up portraits like I did with this handsome Great Blue Heron.