Great Blue Heron

I’ve been visiting a local park that is a reliable location to view Great Blues flying in and fishing.

Catching a shad:

Here is an environmental shot with a catfish:

Specific Feedback Requested


Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon 90D, Sigma 150-600 Contemporary, hand held
ISO 400, f7.1, 1/2000s


Oh nice series, Allen. Difficult lighting conditions, but great poses and action. The wingspread on the first one is darn impressive. I’ve seen them fly so close to the water that the leading primaries actually drag in it. The water droplets flying are fantastic. Great stuff. And the fishing! I don’t know who was more patient for the catch, you or the bird! The third shot definitely needs a CCW rotation to straighten it up, though. Poor catfish. Big one. Did it manage to get it down?

Also…when you say the lens is Contemporary, do you just mean the latest version of it?

@Kris_Smith thanks!
Sigma has two versions of the 150-600. One is the Sport version and the other is called Contemporary. I chose to buy the Contemporary because of the lighter weight.

And yes it ate both fish.

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Nice work, Allen. Terrific details in all three shots and the action is fantastic. Can you post what your focal range was for all three shots? Were you at like 400mm…600mm? I am thinking about upgrading to this exact setup, and I’m just curious. Thanks

A very nice series. I’m partial to the first one. Even without the fish, I find it really compelling. The wing position is great and fly close to the water makes it even stronger. Very nice.

Hi Allen, Great series and thank you for sharing. I like all three but the in flight is my favorite. You did a great job capturing this bird in its natural environment. Great detail and point of view. I am envious that the bird catches bigger fish than I do. Be safe, Brian

Excellent series. I really like the first one with that exceptional wing spread.

Fantastic shots – that is one well-fed Heron!! Looks like a wonderful place to hang out, both for the birds and the photographers.

@terryb, I just saw something interesting the other day about those Sigma lenses, in regards to sharpness issues. If I can dig it out, I’ll start a Discussion.

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First shot…302mm
Second shot…600mm
Third shot…435mm

This is a park with a lot of people walking about and the birds are very acclimated to humans.

Thanks for the comments!

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Thank you, sir - and you’re welcome.

Hi Allen
Very nice take off, the lighting really helped to bring out the blues and gray of this Great Blue and the spray is a nice touch. We have shad and catfish, I have never seen blue take one on.

I also like the first image although it’s a very nice series. I think it’s extremely difficult to get good wing position on a great blue Heron in flight. This is outstanding.

Hi Allen,

All three are very nice, but the in flight one is the best. Excellent pose and the position of the feet suggests that the heron was about to do some maneuvering. The catfish is a yellow bullhead and I find it amazing that they can swallow those fish even with those fin barbs. Great series…Jim

All very nice, but I’m in the group liking the first one. I like the water splash and the droplets coming off the feet and the overall pose makes for one of the best heron flight shots I’ve seen. It would have been interesting to watch him down the catfish. I do like the environmental aspect of the third shot.