Saturday, I did just that. I took my camera, tripod and my 70-200 lens with me and started out hoping to find something interesting to photograph. After about a quarter mile, I saw two Sandhill Cranes standing by the side of the road. I took these images from my car as I knew they would be crossing the road and I did not have time to get out of my car and set up my tripod. This is what I captured before they decided to cross over to the other side.
Not a bad start and I continued on. There are ponds all over the community and I started slowing down looking between the shrubs and trees to try and spot something in the pond. I thought I saw something white but could not be sure if it was an egret or a stick. I pulled over and grabbing my camera walked toward the pond.
Then I saw it really was a white stick. Not exactly nature at its best! I started looking around and noticed I was not alone. There was a Great Blue Heron standing on the other side of the pond and a cormorant swimming around the pond. Both were looking for breakfast. The cormorant found its first. I heard a splash and saw the cormorant surfacing after swimming under water looking for prey. It had been a successful dive. When it surfaced, it had what looked like a catfish in its mouth.
It swam over to the shore to enjoy his well earned meal. I went back to observing the heron.
I left the pond walking towards my car and remembered there was another pond across the street. I
walked over and saw two cranes. One of them was sitting on a nest.
I will need to keep checking on this nest and attempt to take some pictures of a newly hatched crane.
If and when I do, you will see them on our blog.
I checked out one more pond before I headed back to the house. The sun was getting a little high in the sky so I was losing the good light but I wanted to check out one more pond. As I was driving up to it, I saw a Great Blue flying overhead towards the pond. I parked the car and once more walked between the bushes for a look.
I love photographing nature, landscape or animals, (for the sake of this blog, I will include birds and reptiles in the animal category). People ask me if I have a favorite and I have to honestly say I don't. If I am shooting a wedding, a portrait session or a part of nature, I am happy. I love it all!!! I have also been asked what is harder, people or nature? I really do not think one is harder but they do have their unique set of challenges. When you are photographing animals, that is really candid photography!! You have no control of where they are or what they are doing. Unless they are close enough to use a little fill flash, you also have no control of the light. I know you can move your position to put the sun in an advantageous position between you and your subject, but not always, especially when a pond separates you from that location. When you're shooting any animal out in the wild, it will invariably turn its back towards you. If you wait long enough, it might turn back toward your direction but not always.
As I approached the pond, I didn't see the Giant Blue I had seen flying. I didn't see any birds or any other animals. I thought I would wait a few minutes and looked at the pond. Both Phyllis and I have mentioned that after photographing your image, you should look around; behind you, to your left and your right. That is what I did and I saw nothing, just me and the ponds and the trees. But as I stood there, I realized one of my other senses was telling me something. I heard this noise, a chatter, I guess. I looked across the lake, nothing!! Then I looked up and into the trees and I saw them: two large Heronry which is what herons' nests are called.
The two nests were in separate trees but very close to each other, as you can see. Were there any chicks? If there were, could I see them from below? They were about 90-100 feet above me and had tree branches and limbs all around them. The best view seemed to be in the middle of the pond or across the pond on the other side, which were backyards of people's houses. I was looking to see if I could spot anyone on that side but no on was there. Now the sun was getting really high and creating a high contrast situation. None of these conditions created a warm feeling of confidence in me.
Did I see any chicks? If I saw them, could I actually photograph them?
Well here is a clue!! Tomorrow, I'll blog about my second day at this site and post some, what I think are pretty interesting images. See you tomorrow for part 2 of Heron Chicks and Patience!!!!