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Blue Heron Courtship Ritual

Blue Heron Courtship Ritual
Photo Information
Copyright: Ken Slade (Ken52) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-04-14
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT), Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, 58mm circular polarizer
Exposure: f/8, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2008-04-18 19:07
Viewed: 3055
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

A few days ago I went down to the lake and selected a spot near the shoreline. A pair of Great Blue Herons circled overhead. Much to my surprise, they soon landed about 20 yards from my position. It was quickly obvious the herons did not have fishing on their minds.

What I witnessed was a courtship ritual. It was fascinating to watch. Both herons, with plumage ruffled and wings slightly extended performed a graceful courtship dance while extending their neck and pointing their beaks to the sky. This behavior is called “sky pointing,” or “pointing the sky.”

My view was slightly obstructed, but I was afraid to move very much. The entire process lasted only about 4 minutes and then they flew away. I took a series of photos. This main one was the final photo just before they flew away. I am not sure which was male and which was female. I am including two other photos in workshops.

Aperture = f8.0
Shutter = 1/800s
ISO = 400
Focal Length = 170mm
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens

Note: This is my first post in about 8 months. I guess I just got a little burned out posting my photos. Writing critiques became very tedious. Hopefully, I can begin to post again once in a while. I have missed my friends here on TN.

writerscrawlz, inked, nglen, earthtraveler, MMM, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Very beautiful moment captured. I wish it was cropped more so I could get a better look at the herons. I love the dance that is taking place...much like foreplay?

  • Great 
  • inked Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 132 W: 0 N: 249] (771)
  • [2008-04-18 20:42]

hi Ken,
welcome back... nice shot of these pair of Herons. good pov to catch both birds in pose. nicely focused and sharp. great job. tfs

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2008-04-19 2:20]

salut Ken,
bon retour parmi nous, ça fait un moment qu'on avait pas de publication. Très bonne image instructive, déclenchement opportun pour saisir les hérons qui se font face.


  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2008-04-19 4:04]

Bonjour Ken,

Bravo pour cette belle prise nature.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-04-19 4:58]

Hi Ken. Great to see you posting again. You were lucky to have seen this with the pair of Heron. You captured the moment with good detail and natural colours. well done TFS.
hope you are well.

Hello Ken,
Probably they are discussing their fishing strategy:-)
Well done

We sure have missed you around here.
Don't worry so much about critiquing other photos...just concentrate on posting when you get a good one...and I know you get a lot of good ones! :)
This is a fine example. I wish I could see an entire video of this courtship ritual. Lovely shot captured in the middle of a wonderful display of avian dance! :)

Hi Ken, Welcome back!
What a fun occasion to witness and share with us. Though distant, details of the Herons are good and the courtship very evident. I like how you added the other images in WS. Love is in the air! Tfs Richard

Hi Ken,
Nice to see you back! This is a very nice sequence of this particular moment. Pictures in WS are most interesting too. This is the first time I see this behavior, thanks for sharing it in such a nice and well done manner!

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-04-21 6:38]

Hi Ken
Nice presentation.Well composed image I liek the your subjects pose.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-04-21 9:33]

Hi Ken.
I am very glad that you are here again with your amazing pictured. Superb pair of beautiful birds have been pictured by you with great skill. Amazing POV and framing. Excellent selection of the DOF. I like perfect sharpness of the birds, bank of the lake and water surface too. Colours are also superb. Well done and TFS.

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