This Great Blue Heron stood on the wall of the ship channel in Port Aransas, Texas, watching a nearby fisherman in hopes that some little bit of fish or bait might be tossed his way. His manner was calm, cool and collected yet his eyes revealed his wariness as I drove my car parallel to him and rolled my window down. For some reason, he lifted off and flew away before I could raise my camera for a shot. I observed that he only went as far as the next person fishing and took up his watch anew. I circled around and moved in again. I exited my car and took several photos of him standing gracefully, looking first to the right, then the left, like any good model posing.
My wish for him to once again fly was granted soon enough and I made several shots as he lazily moved away, this time out of range.
The sun was not particularly bright on that afternoon in late April but I could not have imagined how low the contrast was until I looked at the images on my iPad later that day. The heron was perfect! When I returned to San Antonio and my computer, I was able to crop and change the background from the grey, dull sky to something more majestic for my subject. Nothing was done to the bird at all. The one wing framed his head beautifully, the outstretched wing below him displayed his span. This graceful moment could not have been more perfect to my eye.
In the second image, the heron is in a new environment altogether, one of my imagining. It reminds me of a scene on a morning two years ago as I sat waiting for the sunrise on a Mexican beach. Walking ever so slowly up the beach to my left was another great blue heron, not noticing me until he was quite close. He froze for a moment, puzzling over what I might be, then taking his time, he stepped out into the surf to skirt my position. I made a short video of that brief episode; now lets see if I can figure out how to upload it.