I guess it’s Composite Week, since this is my second Photoshop posting in a few days. We saw this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) fishing for sculpin (mostly) in a nearby Seattle marina. I’m always drawn to reflections of boat masts in smooth or rippled water, and I loved the way these particular reflections swirled and blurred in response to the heron’s movements.

I went wider with the first shot, to frame the Great Blue Heron between two mast reflections. Then, I went closer for shots two and three, as she plunged into the bay and came up empty. (On previous dives, she caught at least two sculpin and a series of smaller fish.) There were two herons fishing the same spot, and they were gracious enough to let me photograph them for a half hour or so. I moved on before they did.


Click for larger image

Great Blue Heron Fishing in Seattle's Elliott Bay

A few more herons colliding with mast reflections … er … distracting elements. I know there are differing opinions on wildlife shots with habitat or environmental components. I like them when they add context or artistic interest to photos. It’s a subjective endeavor, and I’m always balancing my love of the abstract and unconventional with my passion for nature imagery.

Great Blue Heron at Smith Cove Marina in Seattle

Heron + Squiggles - ©ingridtaylar

A heron disrupting the lines and reflections:

Heron Diving for Fish in Seattle's Elliott Bay

Heron Plunge - ©ingridtaylar

People with cloning brushes … look away. ūüôā A lot of intersecting lines. This heron was hunched for the plunge, amid squiggly mast reflections.

Ardea herodias in Seattle's Smith Cove Marina

Multiple Lines - ©ingridtaylar

Leaving the lines behind:

Ardea herodias in Smith Cove in Seattle

Leaving Lines - ©ingridtaylar

And, to decompress from lines, a clear-water plunge by a fishing heron who came up with a sculpin:

Great Blue Heron diving for fish at Smith Cove in Seattle

Point of Contact - ©ingridtaylar

The heron did not turn toward the sun, as she carried her sculpin to nearby rocks. And, I didn’t want to interrupt her meal by changing locations. So, she and her fish are backlit here. We weren’t sure, but we figured it was a crafty move — that she opted to dine on land to avoid the risk of the fish slipping back into water. She headed straight back into Elliott Bay for more fishing.

Great Blue Heron with Sculpin at Elliott Bay Seattle

With Sculpin - ©ingridtaylar

Edited on 4/14/12 to add: this image, showing the greater context of the scene. This shows just one section of the marina, where the two herons meandered around the shallows of low tide.

Great Blue Heron at Elliott Bay Marina

At the Marina - ©ingridtaylar