A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) hunts along the shores of the Capilano River in North Vancouver, British Columbia
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at the Capilano River (Purchase)
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Late last year I published a post on this blog called “Creating Drama with Shutter Speed“. While at the Capilano River in North Vancouver, British Columbia I had made a few photographs of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). By utilizing different shutter speeds I found that (in this case) a shutter speed of 0.6 seconds brought a lot of drama to the scene by blurring the river in the background.
This photo is another photo I made that day of the same Heron, again with a slower than normal shutter speed ( 1/6th of a second in this case). While I think my favourite of the day is the slow shutter speed Heron photo from that other post, this one comes in a close second for me.
I made this photograph back in October at the Capilano River in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I like how the water flows slowly around these rocks while the river rushes by in the foreground. You may remember one of the earlier photos of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) that I posted from this location a few weeks ago. The Heron photo showed how a small tweak in shutter speed can make a huge difference in the photographic result. In this case, a shutter speed of 1/3 of a second gave me just the amount of water blur that I was looking for. Enough to show the water “in motion” but not so much as to blur it to the point of abstraction.
With my 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM lens I was able to isolate this part of the river for the photograph. Another example of why I often use long lenses for landscape photography!
In October I visited the banks of the Capilano River in North Vancouver in search of some fall colours. I didn’t find much there, but the canyon is always so beautiful that I knew a photo opportunity would be likely regardless of the state of the leaf colours. Lucky for me, this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) was lounging near the bank and posed for some photographs.
Often when I shoot wildlife with my 70-200mm f/4 L IS lens, I switch to AV mode and f/4 so that I am always getting the fastest shutter speed possible. I do not know what I am going to encounter a lot of the time, and this gives me a good chance of being able to catch whatever action I may happen upon. On this day I had upped the ISO to 640, so that I had a bit of extra shutter speed available (1/125 sec) for this photo. Thankfully the 7D does great with much higher ISOs than this – so there is some room available for dealing with low light. When I came upon this Heron, I was able to make this photo quite easily with these settings.
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) – 0.6 seconds(Purchase)
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While I like the above shot I thought there might be an opportunity to make a better photo. Having tried a number of ideas with a faster shutter speed, I decided to try a slower one to see what I could do with the water in the background. I changed my aperture to f/18, and lowered my ISO to 100 in order to create the longer shutter speed. Using a tripod, I made the photograph on the left with a shutter speed of 0.6 seconds.
I believe that the blur in the river created by the slower shutter speed makes the second photo here much more dramatic and interesting than the first. The Heron doesn’t really change between them, the rocks remain the same, but the longer shutter speed creates a great effect in the river. While I do this quite often with static landscape subjects, this is one of the first times I have tried this with a wildlife photo. Granted, the Heron made a great subject for this attempt, but this really shows how varying shutter speed can have dramatic impact on the photographic result.