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The canopy king

The canopy king
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-01-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Digital ISO 100, Hoya UV-Guard (77mm)
Exposure: f/8, 1/125 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2005-01-26 4:10
Viewed: 4362
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Black Heron
Egretta ardesiaca

Also known as: Afrikaans: Swartreier, English: Black Egret, German: Glockenreiher, French: Aigrette ardoisée.

Scientific name derived from:
ardesiaca: Modern Latin, a misspelling of ardosiacius, lead-coloured or slate-coloured.
egretta: French aigrette, a tuft or crest (later an egret or little heron).

They are large, all black or slaty black birds with yellow feet and black legs. It has a bright yellow iris and the feet turns to orange or red at the start of the breeding season.

These Herons are common in the tropics throughout Africa south of the Sahara, except the Congo Basin, and the dry western parts of RSA. They are rare in the Free State were I stay. The frequent the edges of inland and estuarine waters, mainly in higher-rainfall regions.

Black Herons are solitary or gregarious, sometimes feeding cooperatively in groups of up to 50 birds (even up to 70 further north in Africa). When feeding forms a canopy over head by quickly spreading wings forwards to overlap in front of bird; foot then stirs bottom while bill jabbed into water to catch prey. (I still have this pose high on my wish list of shots to get) Holds canopy pose for about 2-3 seconds, and then returns to normal before repeating performance. Flocks may canopy in unison. Canopying done in any weather, day or night, possibly to improve visibility by eliminating reflection, or to attract food to dark shelter formed by wings. Often rouses, shakes plumage and slowly subsides. They roost communally in trees.

This shot was taken on the trip with Japie to the Marievale Bird Sanctuary (an inland wetland area). It was the first time I have seen this bird in the wild and am very happy to have taken this shot. I hope you like it.

Technical data
Time of day: 9:58 AM
Weather conditions: Clear skies
Focal length: 400mm
Flash: Canon Speedlight 550, Patterned
Tripod: Beanbag
Camera mode: Aperture priority
Photoshop CS: Cropped, USM (300%, 0.5, 0)

cafecrem, red45, coasties, marhowie, Fisher, pompey, Callie, rlortie, scottevers7, PDP, desmo has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To netfalls: Too dark...gerhardt 2 01-26 12:30
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Critiques [Translate]

I love the shadows on this picture... they make waves this heron has so many colours...
Great shot!

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-01-26 4:34]

Heron-time! Great pose and colours of this one, especially orange feet :-) Superb composition and BG.

Good clear shot Gerhard. Love the yellow 'socks'. Great job. TFS

Great shot Gerhard.
Beautiful bird, well seen against the OOF BG, very nice.
Great pose, composition, sharpness and colours.
Excellent work.

Great shot, good sharpness and background.
The bird is just a bit too dark.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • desmo Silver Star Critiquer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 6] (4)
  • [2005-01-26 8:32]

Simply a beautiful shot Gerhard.

This is great Gerhard! Great compostion & this OOF long green-grass BG lends a dramatic effect IMO. Excellent details seen in this black plumage, not easy to do. Great notes..Very well done!!!

  • Great 
  • willie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1023 W: 61 N: 648] (2083)
  • [2005-01-26 12:30]

Stunning Gerhard. Brilliant work as usual.
Very good detail considering the POV. Well done

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2005-01-26 13:26]

You did well capturing this dark heron. Excelent lighting and details. Well done on this composition.


  • Great 
  • pompey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 4 N: 746] (2774)
  • [2005-01-26 14:23]

Great shot Gerhard, nice crisp image, great background, fantastic note.
Well caught!

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2005-01-26 15:54]

The man with the yellow feet - good to see they are back, and congrats on getting him. I love these guys and their "canopy" pose is still on my wishlist.
I think you can salvage some more colour out of him using s/h and selective colour. I would love to try a WS, but it is bedtime pastr and I.m struggling to play catch-up.

Yours came out much better than mine. The sun was really difficult here, but you did an excellent job here. Exposing this dark guy against the sun, and getting the detail that you did is amazing.

I did try a workshop doing the following.

1. Using the burn tool, I made the reeds and the trunk a bit darker to lower the contrast with the heron

2. I adjusted the levels a little brighter after completing step 1

Hope you like it

They where holding this one from the feet when they painted it black :DDD
Incredible how you managed the tricky light this time with the black colours. Nice composition. Good work.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-01-26 20:17]

Gerhard, another breathtaking shot of yours. Sharpness is just amazing. Congratulations.

Very beautiful composition, nice BG and DOF to show us this very beautiful bird.

Superb picture Gerhard. Great BG and POV. Very nice composition. The log he's standing on makes a perfect perch for this shot.

A great capture of this Heron. Beautifully composed and framed. The colors and detail are superb. Great Photo!

  • Great 
  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2005-01-27 7:16]

excellent this one. clear and sharp and colorfull!

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-01-27 15:04]

Hi Gerhard, this is great. I don't believe that I have seen this bird before. I think the bird is a little dark but I like the glint in his eye. The notes are very imformative as ever.

  • Great 
  • miqra Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 140 W: 3 N: 23] (151)
  • [2005-01-28 9:41]

Gerhard, Gerhard, Gerhard....the other poor people having to stand in your shadow here on TN (grin) This is an awesome shot of an equally awesome bird, well done!

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