Steve Sampliner  

Purple Heron (juvenile?) by Steve Sampliner

July 2021 - Purple Heron (juvenile?)

July 2021 - Steve Sampliner


About the Image(s)

Pentax K1 using Pentax 150-450mm lens. ISO 800, 410mm, f/7.1, 1/6400, handheld, June 2, 2021, mid-afternoon, Dahariz beach, Salalah, Oman.
I know that this is a Purple Heron. It is not in male breeding adult plumage, so I am pretty sure it is a juvenile, although regional differences and subspecies can sometimes make it hard to determine. I was actually out exploring for European Rollers and Bee-eaters. Ended up finding a baby Kentish Plover with mother. The wetland there was U-shaped. I started walking inside the U. To my right, the Purple Heron took off and started doing low circles above me. It was a usual no cloud super bright day. I intentionally tried to underexpose knowing that if I could keep the colors within the exposure area I would have a much better chance of matching the visual reality of the moment.
I usually try to add detailed post-processing data, but I didn't keep a record for this one. I increased exposure, decreased contrast, added a touch of highlights and whites, took out some shadow and added some blacks. I addressed red, orange, yellow, blue separately. I feel that I have accurately represented how the afternoon sun illuminated the colors.

6 comments posted

Jeffrey Pawlan   Jeffrey Pawlan
Beautiful shot and very sharp. Try using either LR or Camera Raw in PS and slide the highlights to the left and the shadows to the far right. That will be far better than moving the contrast slider. I normally keep that one at 0 center.

  Posted: 07/05/2021 13:32:41
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
If I slide the shadows to the far right, I would be removing the shadows, which would remove depth while also removing the reality of the situation. For me, shadows are absolutely necessary. Of course, they do need to be adjusted from time to time. I did reduce shadows a bit in this image.
I always adjust using highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. I just didn't mention those in the description.   Posted: 07/05/2021 13:48:32

Stanley Selkow   Stanley Selkow
What I love about the shot is the glow through the outer 4 primary feathers on EACH wing. That's special. I believe it's an adult because a juvenile should have a gray nape and your bird has the red nape of an adult. I'm not sure about removing shadows. I'd like to see the colors (even though they're gray) on the birds belly and inner wings. Perhaps increasing exposure even more than you did would expose those feathers.   Posted: 07/05/2021 15:48:30
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Thanks for the info on the heron. This is the first Purple Heron that I have ever seen so it wasn't a straight forward ID for me. I got about 60 keepers from this shoot. I have attached another one with the body in light. Images like this can be taken in a few directions depending on the desire of the photographer. For me, I'm generally more focused on trying to present the image to match the experience. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, the shadows are crisp and well defined and the colors were solid. As the heron did slow circles above me the way light and shadow changed was the most interesting visual aspect of this encounter. I thought it important to keep this visual aspect while still softening the shadows a bit to get a hint of the hidden detail.   Posted: 07/09/2021 13:04:52
Comment Image

Ian Chantler   Ian Chantler
(Groups 4 & 31)
Hi Steve
Another amazing nature image the beautiful clear blue sky so shows off the stunning colours of the Heron lovely detail eye really sharp,you know and love nature it so shows in your work.   Posted: 07/16/2021 16:48:20
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Ian, no question that I do love nature hahahaha. I am fascinated by the natural environment because there is so much to learn about it and with enough patience it will reveal some of its secrets.   Posted: 07/21/2021 13:25:46


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