Archive for the ‘Great Blue Heron’ Category

Great Blue Heron Takes Off - October 02, 2013 - 192-(Black and White)

The moment when a bird, any bird, just takes off is here and gone in a millisecond. When a Great Blue Heron has just taken off from a branch overlooking the pond at Warner Park in Madison, Wisconsin is just as fleeting if a bit more noticeable. This photo is my contribution to Black & White Sunday: A Fleeting Moment.


I have had this blog for less than one year and recently I posted my 365th post so I decided to memorialize the occasion. has been pretty difficult for me. I suffer from a chronic disease that makes it hard to concentrate and to stay focused and I am often in pain and quite tired (thus the “fog”). When I started this blog I had no idea how much energy it would take and what a challenge it was going to be (thus the “war”).

I started this photo blog in part because the writing that used to come so easily to me now comes slowly and messily like the last bits of toothpaste squeezed out of the tube. Until relatively recently, I was able to work at least part-time in the career I had long pursued (I was an attorney working with intellectual property and technology law). That work is no longer available to me because it requires more energy, a better memory, and greater nimbleness of mind than I currently possess. I tell my friends that I am not dumber, but I am slower.

During the early days of my illness, boredom was a constant companion. Then, a few years ago, my wife bought me a new camera. While I had always enjoyed photography, suddenly I had a lot of time available in which to pursue it. So off I went on a photo binge. Many of my photos are taken of things very close to home – typically in our yard or neighborhood; indeed I have a category in my blog for “Photos Taken within 100 Meters of Our Home.” Many others are taken on the way to visit or at my in-laws. (My wife has a great family!)

As the years went by and the shutter clicked, hundreds and then thousands of images filled up space on my hard drive(s) and I began to think about sharing my photos. I am and always will be an amateur photographer. I do not have the energy nor do I have the desire to sell any of my work (although I do donate my work to non-profit auctions and the like).  Eventually I decided to try blogging and started start

Keeping up with this blog has been difficult for me. What has made this easier is that many of you who have visited this blog have been extraordinarily generous with your thoughts about my photos. I am not too proud to admit that when someone says a photo of mine is “stunning” or “wonderful” or “amazing” it makes me feel good. That isn’t the sole reason for the blog, but it sure doesn’t hurt! More important for someone who had spent all too much time just sitting at home is that my blog brought me into a community of people from around the world whose blogging about their lives and travels has made boredom impossible and made frustration, fatigue and pain more bearable. While it is still so very much more difficult to write than it used to be, I have all of the time I want to do it and so it is okay.

This post contains some of my favorite photos from my first 365 posts. When I was looking through the posts to put together this collection, my biggest thought was how thankful I am that I have had this opportunity. Mostly I thank all of the people who have visited my blog. I also want to give a shout out to WordPress because I really doubt I would have had a “Post 366” had I not been blogging with WordPress, which has made setting it up my blog and keeping it going so much easier for me than would otherwise have been the case.

I hope you enjoy this collection.

Warner Park is not the perfect photo destination. On one hand you have a beautiful bird like the Great Blue Heron in the park. On the other hand, it may be standing in or flying over water that is pea soup green with clumps of I’m not sure what floating about on the water’s surface. Here is what I mean:

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 199

What’s a photographer of limited stamina and resources to do. Head for the pristine wilderness of course. Not. I can’t honestly say I feel a great deal of obligation to stay true to the subject matter here. At least not the entire subject matter in this photo. The environment around the heron distracts from it. As a result, I feel it is entirely appropriate to work around it. One obvious way to do that while using the same image is, of course, to a use black and white image. There is no pea soup green in black and white:

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 198-Edit-DFX

Other possible ways for addressing unappealing elements of a photo include cropping:

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 199(cropped)-2

or using a photo technique that takes the edge off of the undesirable elements of the photo. Below the streaks filter from DFX 3 blurs the image while a mask protects the heron.

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 199-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit

Of course there is always the danger /opportunity of selecting the heron and launching it into new worlds where the pea soup pond has lost its relevance. Below are three images created using Filter Forge 3.

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 198-Edit-Edit-4 -2

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 198-Edit-Edit-3 -2

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 198-Edit-Edit-2 -2

Finally coming back full circle, the simplest of all ways to deal with the problem of the pea soup pond is for the photographer to slightly change position.

Great Blue Heron - October 02, 2013 - 194a-2

Great Blue Heron - Taking Off

The large Great Blue Heron in Madison’s Warner Park (pictured in the earlier set of photos I posted) eventually decided it was time to move on for the day. Here he is at the moment when his flight begins.

This Great Blue Heron is fishing. In order to so so, he has formed his wings into an umbrella and has squatted underneath it using the shade to both attract fish as well as to enable him to better see the fish when they arrive.  For those interested in Great Blue Herons, I have a posted a few photos in a slide show on my blog and will be either adding to it or creating a second slide show.

Great Blue Heron Under Wing to Shade Water to See Prey - October 02, 2013 - 86

Recently, to the extent weather and energy have cooperated, I have been photographing several Great Blue Herons that have been staying in Madison’s Warner Park. I just finished posting a slide show with a several blue heron photos and it was finally time to check the weekly challenges to see what was up. When I saw that the Word a Week Photo Challenge was “Underneath” I thought I had a fun response ready at hand.

I can’t say that the Great Blue Herons and I have become buddies, but I have spent a fair amount of time watching them, particularly the largest one. For a variety of reason I generally photograph things pretty close to home. I will never be a wildlife photographer if it requires any kind of strenuous physical activity and anyways I am not born to stealth and could not develop unless perhaps if I practiced it so long each day that I had no time or energy for any other activity – thus defeating the purpose of having achieved the goal. Fortunately, the large heron that currently occupies my attention doesn’t seem to mind me too much as long as I respect his space and move slowly – two things I can do.  In this picture, the heron has spread out and ducked under its wings in order to better eliminate the sun’s glare and enhance what it can see in the pond that sits below its perch.



I have been watching several Great Blue Herons that have been staying in Madison’s Warner Park recently and wanted to share a few of my photos. I intended to put high enough resolution images into the slide show so that you could learn a bit about the herons while looking at the images while not making them too large. I hope it worked. I have several more interesting shots that I will be getting into another post shortly. I hope you enjoy these photos.

There are several Great Blue Herons that have been visiting Madison’s Warner Park recently. Here are three photos of them doing what they do most of the time, which is stand around:).

Great Blue Heron - Warner Park 9-1-13

Great Blue Heron - September 25, 2013 - 076-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit

Great Blue Heron - September 25, 2013 - 008