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