Tom Buckard  


GREAT BLUE HERON IN FLIGHT by Tom Buckard

November 2021 - GREAT BLUE HERON IN FLIGHT

About the Image(s)

My wife and I were shooting at Lake Apopka Wildlife Area north west of Orlando a few days ago. It is a wildlife drive where water / swamp is on one side of you or the other. Much of your shooting is done right out of the window of your vehicle. There are also many places to stop and shoot if the need arises. Watch out for gators! This Great Blue was about 60 feet from me when all of a sudden he took off. I was able to get 4 or 5 good images and many bad.

Image shoot with a Nikon D850 with a Nikkor 200-500mm lens. Focal Length 370mm. Aperture F11, Speed 1/8000, ISO 2500.


This round’s discussion is now closed!
12 comments posted




Mary Walsh   Mary Walsh
Tom, this is a beautiful capture!! I love the reflection. I've taken a lot of photos of birds taking off and have never been lucky enough to get such a beautiful reflection. The lighting on the face of the great blue is also great.   Posted: 11/03/2021 09:38:12



Lloyd Delaney   Lloyd Delaney
I love the shot and the placement in the frame. I would lighten the bird a bit so it stands out from the background.   Posted: 11/03/2021 12:17:55



Lloyd Delaney   Lloyd Delaney
I love the shot and the placement in the frame. I would lighten the bird a bit so it stands out from the background.   Posted: 11/03/2021 12:17:57



Margaret Sprott   Margaret Sprott
I love it too. My only thought was that the whole image is a little dark. Was the sky that gray?   Posted: 11/03/2021 17:04:33



Tom Buckard   Tom Buckard
Lloyd, thank you so much for your comment to lighten the Great Blue Heron. This image is in a nature competition and the deadline was tonight. I was able to lighten and submit. We shall see? Mary, thank you for your nice comment. I am normally not so lucky. Margaret, you are exactly right. This was an early overcast morning but what looks to be sky is actually swamp water in the distance and the angle of the shot.   Posted: 11/03/2021 20:15:26
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Margaret Sprott   Margaret Sprott
Thanks - that explains it.   Posted: 11/03/2021 22:31:11
Tom Buckard   Tom Buckard
Margaret, I thought about what you said and it was very easy to lighten the whole image. Do you think it is better? I am torn...   Posted: 11/05/2021 18:47:59
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Margaret Sprott   Margaret Sprott
I think I like it better but I'll be interested in what others have to say. Thanks for trying it.   Posted: 11/05/2021 18:56:35



Gary Schafer   Gary Schafer
Hi Tom. I was once lucky enough to go to this place. Nice shot. I like Margaret's idea and I think the lightening made a big difference. It even changed the coloration for the better. I think your original was a bit underexposed perhaps. I see you shot at SS 8000. I live in Florida, East of Orlando and I shoot mostly birds in flight when they are here. In my opinion, your settings are a bit off. SS is high. For this bird you could have gotten by with 1000. Also, your ISO is high. Be careful when going above 800. It distorts and makes for a lot of noise and grain. I set ISO based on lighting conditions and type of bird movement and leave it fixed at or below 800. I make fine exposure adjustments using the F stop on the fly and vary from F8 to f16. Just commenting and I'm not the expert. Those settings could explain the coloration and darkness appearances. I hope that helps a little. Nice shot. It looks like you were shooting down at this bird. Not easy with that background.   Posted: 11/07/2021 08:05:52
Tom Buckard   Tom Buckard
Gary, Just like every car in America has different options, traits and performance every camera is also different. You have to optimize what works best for you result wise with the camera you are using.
Some cameras ISO of 400, 800 or 1600 are your max for low noise & grain. Many of the newer high-end cameras ISO of 3200 and even 6400 and higher get very little noise or no noise. I won't kid you if I could shoot ISO 64 all the time I would because of the clarity, sharpness, clean lines, crisp details, and no blurring I would. Nikon's D850 at 45.7 mega pixels has the lowest base ISO of any DSLRs or mirror-less cameras and the ISO 64 is expandable down to ISO 32.

Nikon's D850 has a native ISO of 64, allowing for wider dynamic range than cameras with a native ISO of 100. The sensor also utilizes dual conversion gain, which has the effect of preserving highlight dynamic range while increasing sensitivity. D850 is very good to 3200 and even to 6400 and higher and I can vouch for it!

Like most Nikon Pro DSLR's, the D850 offers four High ISO Noise Reduction settings: Off, Low, Normal and High, allowing you quite a bit of flexibility in choosing how you want to make the trade-off between subject detail and noise levels in JPEGs.
I look at it different if I want to make a capture to be sure it is absolutely stopped going for super sharpness I go fast. I also shoot birds all over Florida and all the way up to Maine. At time SS 1000 just doesn't get it unless you are panning.

I like my backgrounds out of focus so at times I use F/2.8 F/4 or F/5.6 and if I want everything in focus I strive for f/16, f/22, f/32. I try to get everything I can out of the camera and make it do exactly what I want. Textbook setting just don't get it.
  Posted: 11/08/2021 08:00:04
Margaret Sprott   Margaret Sprott
Thanks for all this info, which I'll try to use but will probably forget most of the time. I have been using high ISOs sometimes so I can use a faster shutter speed. I have a hard time seeing noise so I often don't notice it (or must ask my husband about it). My camera allows very high ISO and I probably use them too much.   Posted: 11/14/2021 09:20:14



Jamie Federick   Jamie Federick
Wow! I learned a lot from Tom. When I first looked at the photo, I thought it was two birds because the reflection was so clear. I do like youlightened photo better too. I hope one day to get a bird in flight to look like this! Great job!   Posted: 11/15/2021 19:28:14