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Day #11: Green Heron Portrait

Day #11: Green Heron Portrait

Photography Composition Techniques: Green Heron portrait. Nature, Wildlife, Bird and Landscape Photography by Prathap.

The Photo

Close up portrait of Green Heron, Grayslake, IL.

Facts from Wiki

The green heron (Butorides virescens) is a small heron of North and Central America. It was long considered conspecific with its sister species the striated heron (Butorides striata), and together they were called “green-backed heron”.

Story Behind the Photo

There were two small ponds in our apartment complex in Grayslake, Illinois. I was a regular (almost daily) visitor to those ponds in the morning. When I first saw this small bird hiding in the marsh I was not sure if I liked it much. I was not happy because it was hiding behind the bushes 🙂 . It didn’t seem to come out at all!

It was on the day when I saw this bird do an acrobatic plunge into the water holding on to a delicate branch, that I was stunned! What an amazing feat it performed before coming back to the upright position! I was awestruck.

If you have seen them fishing while standing on these delicate branches, you would agree with my experience.

Cutting to this photo, I was happily taking photos on my brand new Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 lens and was enjoying every bit of it that day. It was almost an hour standing on the board walk that runs across the pond shooting green heron, blue heron and swallows.

Green heron which is a very skittish bird was fed up of my presence I guess 🙂 , and started ignoring me. It was enjoying fishing from the iron fence on the boardwalk.  I was almost motionless for several minutes as I waited with my lens placed on the fence to get an eye-level photo and also free myself of the pain of lifting that heavy lens for so long.

Green heron started coming close to me walking on the fence before it made several stops to take a look at its prey.  I made several photographs of this bird that are still my most favourite photographs.

This photo is a full-frame photo of the green heron! Imagine getting this close to a bird that stands just about 44 cm (17 inch) tall! It was a perfect day with some perfect poses of the bird. After this encounter it became one of my most favourite birds.

Needless to say, the commendable quality of the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 lens helped me get the best possible details on green heron. By using the maximum aperture of f/2.8 I was able to get the creamy bokeh!

Technical Information

Body:  Nikon D7100

Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Focal Length: 300mm

Aperture (f-stop): f/2.8

Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec

ISO Sensitivity: ISO-100

Exposure Compensation: 0 step

Metering Mode: Pattern

Shooting Mode: Manual

Quick Tip

Don’t be fooled by the looks of a bird. It might not be the most beautiful bird you have seen but it might be the most impressive bird!

The more time you spend with the same bird more it will tolerate you giving you some of the most memorable photographs. Building a relation with the bird makes you get closure to the nature.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Photo Story. Have a Great Day Ahead!


Prathap is a professional nature photographer and founder of Nature Photography Simplified blog. He aims to simplify every photography concept to help beginners and amateur photographers.

Download his highly recommended FREE eBook "Bird Photography – 10 Mistakes and Solutions" which has been instrumental in helping thousands of bird photographers.

Download it right now to jumpstart your bird photography.

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