Great Blue Heron Poses With Fishing Trophy

The fog just lifted over Lake Hancock at the Circle B Bar Reserve (Lakeland, FL). This Great Blue was at water’s edge with this catfish nailed on its beak. I was following it, taking many pics, when it jumped up on the railing and posed with its trophy.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I like the photo story of the heron going about its daily business of life, and the sense of its place in nature. The little blue OOF in the background doesn’t hurt. I welcome any suggestions on what else I should be doing, either when taking the picture or processing it.

Technical Details

Panasonic G9 body with PL 100-400 lens at 100mm, f/4, 1/2500 sec, ISO200. Added a 1/3 stop positive exposure bias (could have used more, actually). Processed in DXO PhotoLab for noise and some exposure correction, then LRC and PS.


Hello Paul, What a great photo! Truly a picture is worth a thousand words in this one. I have nothing to suggest … except keep making photos and posting!

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I like the angle you shot this at as it emphasis the size of the heron. Of course, excellent to get it with a fish. I also like the heron in the background as, for me, it adds to the setting.

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Aesthetic: I like the story with some environment, fish and the background OOF bird. All that works. I find the image too tight in the frame. More room left/right/bottom would be beneficial

Technical: Well exposed and processed. There is a bit of a yellow color cast to the heron. A color balance adjustment layer with the midtones yellow/blue slider at +11 and the highlights yellow/blue at +3 makes a nice difference in the color tones.

Excellent advice. Thank you.

Amazon photo image. That is just amazing capture. Well done, Paul

Thanks everybody for the comments and advice. Here’s how the image stands this afternoon. (unfortunately no additional room available at bottom)

Reversed? Which way was the original? I’ve never understood changing the orientation.

Yes, reversed from the original. For a different image a couple of my photo buddies liked the leading lines coming from the lower left corner, so I tried it on this one. But I’m relatively new at this so I’d honestly welcome your viewpoint on why this should or shouldn’t be done. Thanks in advance.

HI @Keith_Bauer , Coincidentally, I was looking at a B&H video yesterday featuring Emilie Talpin, an OM systems ambassador, on editing bird photos. She recommended orienting the bird (flipping horizontally if needed) so the bird faced towards the left. Her reasoning was that we read from left to right and so we scan the photo left to right and will stop at the bird, while if the bird is facing right, our scanning takes our eyes out of the photo. An interesting thought and perhaps one a psychology student would test out. I would disagree. As I look at these two images, I prefer the second one as I tend to stop at the eye, so for me there is better visual flow in the second.

Hi @Allen_Brooks . Thanks for sharing this. I’ve heard this before and for me, it is simply just another piece of advice that adds nothing to an image. A good composition is a good composition. I don’t care about reading direction discussions as that would imply social/regional/language stuff that I think has little or nothing to do with a good image. As Ansel said “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”

Guess if people want to flip images assuming it will make it better, more power to them. For me, the orientation is dictated by how I found the subject.

I should have mentioned, @Keith_Bauer, that I don’t flip my images. I agree with you that the orientation is how you found it. But, on those occasions when I’m given a choice, my visual psychology seems to prefer the bird looking right.

Thank you @Keith_Bauer and @Allen_Brooks. Good discussion. As I’ve looked at it more I changed it back to the “as I found it.”