The Elusive Blue Heron

 

My goal to hike in the Shenandoah National Forest is slower going than I thought.  High temperatures and high humidity, along with threats of serious thunderstorms in the SNF have kept me and Wiley away.  I don’t do well in high humidity and heat – my balance gets wonky and I tend to trip and fall.  I’ve often thought I need a big sign that reads “I am not drunk, I’m just a klutz.”

I have instead been walking closer to home until the heat improves.  Today, I met my friend for one of our weekly walks at Poor House Farm.  At PHF resides a Great Blue Heron and for over four years I have tried my best to get a decent photo of him.

Today, I succeeded.  The photos below are not untouched. I cropped all of them.  With some of the photos, I applied the auto color correction, and with others, I just had fun pretending to be an artist for National Geographic.

 

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I selected him, ran an inverse, and then blurred the background. In the process, his edges looked a bit jagged so I tried to smooth them out. I also tried cloning part of his underwing to hide large tree branches that showed up on his wing. This one not my best.

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My attempt at Sepia tone.

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brightened up the colors.

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the oil painting filter.

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This is just a basic crop.

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Just a crop and sharpened the edges.

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Here he is taking off and if you look closely you can see his feet have just left the branches.

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I like the way his wings are up high, but have folded down.  His muscles pop out and the strength of his long neck stares you in the face.  I also noticed that his feet dangle downwards and if he were to land he would need to move them up.

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The steel grays of his feathers deem him worth y of being a Great Blue.

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Before I took these pictures I never knew that there is a bit of orange on the GBH’s wings.

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This photo reminds me of a book by Richard Bach called There’s No Such Place as Far Away.  

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Obviously I was playing with lighting techniques.  His feet are straight, the way a diver wants their feet together and angled as he/she jumps off the dive board and up into the air before landing in the pool.

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In this lighting technique I am reminded of someone who is pushing his/her way through a dark cloud and knowing that the perseverence will pay off in the future.

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The graceful wings as they curve upwards in lift.

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I wanted to keep some of the tops of trees to get a sense of height.  

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Another Oil Painting filter.

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Resting on a branch post flight.

Day one: June 3, 2017

I realize as I hike the thoughts that come to my mind aren’t necessarily what you write about in a blog.  Not that they are too private, but because they are mundane.   Thinking about my footing and not wanting to fall, why Wiley refuses to drink water when we hike,  hopes for Hannah’s story, ideas for Pearl’s story, and what book I should read next.

And Light.  I am intrigued how sunlight falls on the underneath of tree leaves.  That is what I tried to capture in my photos – light on leaves.  I also looked for different perspectives, I tried to see what people might miss.

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