Tricolored Heron (Breeding Plumage)

Taken 3 weeks ago at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine. These are not captive birds, but part of an open air rookery of various herons, egrets, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, etc., which are thoroughly habituated to large crowds of photographers and onlookers. I always feel a bit uneasy photographing there, but succumb every time to the unique opportunity to see and photograph these birds in their distinct and separate tasks of nesting, mating, hatching and fledging their young. There is an immense cacophony of raucous billing, cooing and wooing going on, underscored by the mating calls of the hundreds of large male alligators swimming beneath the boardwalk through the rookery.

This is not a typical wading, fishing, foraging shot. It says something to me about the bird itself, rather than my nearness to it, photographing. I felt lucky to get it, even if I can’t define it.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

any/all. I would suggest for anyone going there that a 100 mm—400 mm zoom is ideal for nearly all the shots taken there. For anything close to the guardrail, my 300 mm + TC left me with not enough room to back up. Quite often, the vegetation obscured all but a 90 degree view. The feet and lower body had to be sacrificed.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

This is one of those habitat/leading lines shots. I can’t imagine adding or taking away from it. Even not showing the lower body works, at least for me.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Camera Info: Nikon D750, HH, braced on Boardwalk railing
Lens: VR 300mm f/4E + 1.4x TC (the teleconverter wasn’t really necessary).
Focal Length: 420mm
Focus Mode: AF-C
AF-Area Mode: Group Area AF
Aperture: f/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Comp.: 0EV
Metering: Matrix
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
90% of full frame
PP in LR/PS CC 2019, Topaz Studio, TK Sharpen for Web @ 35%

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

This works for me as well, Phil. I understand the mixed feelings of shooting in a place like that, but he birds, while habituated, aren’t any constraint, so it’s really no different than shooting in my back yard.

A very nice image, however, I really think it belongs in Avian rather than Flora:grin: so I moved it for you.

The detail in the bird is wonderful but I do find the out of focus stick with the bright end on the lower left distracting and may have composed this with more room at the top and that stick cropped out.

Woops! I don’t know why a post should be 20 characters when 5 will do.

I like this image, especially the detail and pose of the heron and the upper right corner. I also feel the lower left OOF sticks a bit distracting…

Sorry about that. I agree wholeheartedly, but you gotta realize: I was shooting into a hole in the veggies, with elbows and other peoples appurtenances to the left, right and behind. This was the best view I had.:confounded:

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