A Fine Morning to You, Too

I’m fine with the technicals on this, but welcome any additional insights. Mostly I’m looking for “mood” reactions, how this photo makes you feel about birds, and herons in particular.

It was shot handheld at first light at the Venice FL rookery with a Nikon D7200, Nikon 200-500 f/5.6.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any pertinent technical details:

I like the contrasting white and dark elements in this image. You caught a nice moment with the heron looking intently at something, not an uncommon look from a heron.

Hank: Nice to see you here and posting!
This image has a nice feel to it with the soft moody lighting. I studied this for few minutes and one thing kept moving me away from the heron’s eye… That hard line shadow on his neck. I’d look into softening that line and opening up the shadow on the neck and maybe some on the body

I’d been considering things along those lines Keith, and I appreciate the feedback. I’m a little concerned that opening the shadow on the body would reduce the “impact” of the lighted parts, but could only determine that with some play. But good grounds for play, for sure!

To elaborate on the Venice rookery a bit, be prepared for a shock if you arrive midday. It’s a small island in the middle of a pond virtually “downtown” in Venice. Most birds fly out for the day, and with the harsh light and shadows and lack of action it’s a virtual bust. Arrive before sunrise or remain until darkness however, and the place is pure magic with great light and great birds. Due to the distance from shore to the island, longer lenses are a boon not only for closeups, but also for cropping out surrounding buildings and power lines. My 200-500 spent most of it’s time on 500, and I was even happier with the addition of a 1.4x TC. January and February are key months for breeding displays, with March/April best for feeding young.

I like the mood in this, Hank. The hard line doesn’t bother me too much and I like the darkness of the body. I notice that the shadow line seems to fall on the neck, so you might tansition in that area and leave the body alone. A very cool image.

Thanks Dennis,

I have to confess that you “busted” me . Old habits die hard, and mostly I’m not shooting for fine art prints. In my career I usually composed for text or graphic overlays. As I shot this I couldn’t help picturing it on a page with text or graphics in the lower left. Another habit is to compose the same subject both horizontally and vertically with space along the bottom or top for layouts.

This would work very well as a cover or other image with text on it, Hank, but I like it as art.

Thanks Dennis! That’s the way I see it too. Funny thing is, we have many fine paintings on our walls, but almost no photos. Negotiations are under way with my wife!

Hi Hank,
I really do like the mood you captured in this. It makes me feel as if the heron has on a cape and is ready to pull it over his head. I do agree with Keith’s suggestion but also see your point and the decision you made. What if you could just lesson the harshness of the shadow line making it more a a gradient change instead of brining up the shadows of the entire image?

"What if you could just lesson the harshness of the shadow line making it more a a gradient change…"

Along the lines of the shadow under its beak? That’s a growing good thought in my mind. Thanks for helping point that out.