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.

Great Blue Heron fishing in reflections

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.

A heron disrupting the lines and reflections:

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

Heron Fishing in mast reflections

Heron Fishing in mast reflections

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

Great Blue Heron fishing

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

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 Elliot Bay Marina

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