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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 19 Nov 2011 (Saturday) 20:42
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Sneeking up on herons

 
nordlysBW
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Nov 22, 2011 16:27 as a reply to  @ post 13436218 |  #16

I am under the impression that the old ones get less fidgety when I am around. Guess they know the tricks of the trade ;) and realise no harm is coming to them. And yet the eye remains alert even if their head is turned some angle away from you.

When hungry and busy fishing, young or old are often so tense they care less about what is happening further away as long as you move gently. Especially if they stand in flowing water. Which by the way can be an asset for us as the water noise covers the rustle we sometimes make when moving around in tall grasses and such like.

When basking in the sun after a nippy night and early morning they also seem more willing to accept you at close quarters. When their comfort zone is being threatened they stretch their head out and start looking nervously right and left and have got you framed. Looking for possible escape routes? When they start bending a little forward and you sense that slight flexing of the legs, take off is about to happen. then you clearly disturbed the bird, but I notice some people are deliberately moving towards the heron to get a BIF shot that way.

IMAGE: http://img502.imageshack.us/img502/4005/heronheadshot2912x8.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://imageshack.us …/heronheadshot2​912x8.jpg/  (external link) Uploaded with ImageShack.us (external link)"]
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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Nov 22, 2011 18:21 |  #17

I live in the city and shoot city birds mostly and our herons are used to people, bold as brass and pretty tame. I usually need to back away a bit so as not to loose limbs. But I do recognize your problem. I have it with crows, magpies and jackdaws. The advice about not making eye contact is excellent. I avoid that at all cost. I can pass crows, magpies and jackdaws almost at arms length and they think nothing of it. But as soon as I look at them, they're off. So, avoid eye contact, walk on a few meters, sit down, back to the birds, get your gear out without sudden movements, turn around slowly and see what happens.

Also, try covering your head. Sounds like silly advice, but I find it works wonders with some birds. And of course don't dress in bright colours. You don't need camouflage or anything, just colours that are muted and don't stand out.


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canonloader
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Nov 22, 2011 18:34 |  #18

I bought a small flatbottom boat and 10hp motor. Not only does it get me to places a person with no boat will never see, it also gives me the ability to get close to all kinds of wildlife, including eagles, from a perspective you don't normally see.

The boat, trailer and motor, which started on the first pull every time, cost me $800 on Craigslist. I could putt all up and down the Mississippi River on $5 of gas for a long day. And that was last year, when gas cost more than it does now.


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Forgottenalarm
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Nov 26, 2011 11:56 |  #19

Picked up a chair blind today. was one of my dads he cant use where he hunts. so it wasnt used. sitting in it gets me excited.


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ScubaDude
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Dec 09, 2011 06:42 |  #20
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I never walk straight towards them... always zig-zag. And I walk with my back to them. When I get close, I put my camera up to hide my face and slowly turn around. If the bird is still there, I start shooting. This one was 15-20 feet away.

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Great Egret (external link) by turbodog2000 (external link), on Flickr

Or, go to where people have been fishing and left half-full bait cups laying around.
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Scavanging for breakfast (external link) by turbodog2000 (external link), on Flickr

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Forgottenalarm
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Dec 09, 2011 09:17 |  #21

wow thats awsome!


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HoosierHorridus
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Jan 18, 2012 23:23 |  #22

This is how I get most of my heron shots.

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6191/6070745841_1fcdaaf62f_z.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6182/6148526936_d26d3e78e0_z.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7154/6724031255_38dabb37f2_b.jpg

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tonylong
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Jan 21, 2012 16:46 |  #23

Jason, nice rig, nice shots!


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tonylong
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Jan 21, 2012 17:22 |  #24

Heh! This thread popping up stirs things up!

Having a nearby beaver pond where heron would occasionally hang out got me "moving" when I got my first DSLR and the 70-300 "consumer" lens. The problem was that I could only get to the road side of the pond, whereas the heron stuck to the far side, and shooting with the 70-300 left somewhat to be desired, not just in reach, but in being pretty soft at full length and wide open at f/5.6:

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So, I succumbed to the inevitable and upgraded my glass!

This gives you an idea of one scenario I had to deal with, shot at 100mm with the new 100-400:

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But at least I now had a chance to get a bit "closer" with 400mm:

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And then it was nice to find one that wasn't so obscured by the growth:

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And to catch it in "action":

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/79601224/original.jpg

I ended up spending big bucks on the 300mm f/2.8 IS, but needed to have the 2x TC pretty well glued to it as I spent many hours roaming a nearby wildlife refuge, where a lot of heron spent time. There are limits to how and where you can actually park and walk, so a lot of shooting had to be done out of my car window, but at times I'd get lucky..

This was actually on an occasion where I just pulled over to the side and got out -- I had for this the 100-400 with the 2x TC, so a "soft" 800mm:

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But this was one of those "out the car window" shots with the 300 and the 2x TC, so 600mm:

IMAGE: http://www.pbase.com/tonylong/image/88175165/original.jpg

Hey, I've had good times chasing those critters!!!

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HoosierHorridus
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Jan 21, 2012 19:05 |  #25

tonylong wrote in post #13744374 (external link)
Jason, nice rig, nice shots!

Thanks! I had a 300mm F2.8 IS in the crate, but my lack of kayaking skills at the time that photo was taken prevented me from getting it out of the dry bag.


Jason
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tonylong
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Jan 21, 2012 19:19 |  #26

HoosierHorridus wrote in post #13745074 (external link)
Thanks! I had a 300mm F2.8 IS in the crate, but my lack of kayaking skills at the time that photo was taken prevented me from getting it out of the dry bag.

Heh!

I have inflatable kayaks that I've packed gear with, dry bags and ZipLock bags combined -- it's pretty cool when you can get those shots!

There is a wildlife refuge near here that have wetlands that are accessible with kayaks/canoes, but for some reason I haven't gone there with one, dang!


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Jan 21, 2012 19:42 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #27

Oooh, finally a thread I can contribute to and an excuse to show off a recent shot I took. I tried walking in close for a shot, but just as others have mentioned, they're a bit timid. This one flew off before I could close the distance. However, while walking back to my truck I turned around and saw him already flying back in my direction...so I knew I was in the spot he wanted to be. So, this time, I intentionally scared him off by walking back down to the waters edge. He flew off just as expected. I waited a few minutes and turned around and headed back for the truck but just took a few steps and knelt down on the ground in some tall grass...sure enough, he came flying back over. Perched himself up on a big tree branch and gave me an awesome shot. I thought both the color and B&W worked, but I prefer the color version. Enjoy!


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apparently some of the sharpness/detail is lost in the conversion, but you get the idea.



  
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tonylong
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Jan 21, 2012 20:42 |  #28

Very nice shot, no-limit, and congrats on a good successful strategy!


Tony
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Wildlife project pics here (external link), Biking Photog shoots here (external link), "Suburbia" project here (external link)! Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood pics here (external link)

  
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Jan 22, 2012 22:25 |  #29

thanks tony!




  
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dfbovey
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Jan 22, 2012 23:55 |  #30

I usually try to approach from behind another object if possible. Whether its a tree, shrub or even my car on wildlife drives that are common in the refuges in my area. Once I have position I try to lay down as low as possible and the heron usually returns to natural behavior pretty quickly. But most of my heron shots come from Chincoteague NWR where they seem to be more tolerant of people. But I've been able to get within 10 yards of them consistently.


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Sneeking up on herons
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