Saturday, September 25, 2010

Night Heron?

This great blue heron was fishing in Plymouth Harbor last night. As it fished in the shallows, it moved in and out of the glow of nearby street lights. The water was fairly calm with an intermittent slight breeze. When the wind blew, the reflections of the street lights would stretch further along the water and surround the heron with golden sparkles of light.
I spent nearly an hour photographing this heron. During that time I moved up and down the sidewalk along the waterfront, attracting the attention of many patrons in the nearby Weathervane seafood restaurant. Soon there was a large crowd of people wondering what I was photographing. My dad and I did our best to educate everyone about the great blue. We met people from as far away as Pennsylvania!
My dad also pointed out a juvenile night heron that was camouflaged amongst barnacle covered rocks on the shore. Its speckled white and brown feathers perfectly matched the barnacles. My dad never ceases to amaze me with the birds that he can spot. I am sure that 99% of all other people would never have seen the immature heron.
There were thousands of fish swimming in the harbor. Both birds were dining on plenty of fresh seafood.
The question of the night was do these birds naturally fish at night or was the light pollution of downtown Plymouth altering their behavior? Unfortunately, I don't yet know the answer to that question.
As to the photography, I was trying to silhouette the great blue against the golden flecks of the streetlight reflected on the water. In the end I needed a little help from NIK Color Effects Pro to get the exposure I desired. I used a combination of the polarization, skylight and midnight filters.
It was a great experience to shoot some night photography with these birds!


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