I intended this post to be a single image for my “Just A Shot That I Like” feature. It didn’t turn out that way.
Six days ago I found this Great Blue Heron on the edge of a small, partially frozen creek with an almost vertical snow bank directly behind and very close to the bird. The heron was patient with me and I was close so I tried a variety of compositions using my 500 mm and 100-400 mm lenses. The incredibly fast shutter speeds were because of the bright snow and my forgetfulness in adjusting settings as I was juggling two cameras and lenses.
In the end I couldn’t decide which composition I preferred so I’m presenting three of them here.
1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 500, 500 f/4, natural light
This relatively tight vertical shows good detail on the bird and I like the close view of the swirly marks on the snow behind the heron made by a wing as it landed.
1/3200, f/7.1, ISO 500, 100 – 400 @ 400mm, natural light
Some folks gravitate toward whole-bird reflections so I’m also including this composition. Ideally I’d prefer the bird to be slightly further left in the frame but cropping off the left makes the image too narrow vertically for my tastes and I have no more room on the right (image was taken vertically and is close to full frame).
1/6400, f/5.6, ISO 640, 100 – 400 @ 400mm, natural light
A horizontal composition with the heron slightly smaller in the frame shows more of the snowy setting, including the creek and the snow that fell away from the vertical bank as the bird landed.
I’m still undecided about which composition I prefer so, typical of me when faced with a difficult decision, I waffle and present all three…
PS – At the last minute I decided to include this image to show you the price I paid for shooting vertically when the heron took off. Compositionally there’s nothing I can do to salvage the shot (which is full frame as presented).