Sat Apr 2023

Great Blue Motif


Art glut,” some call it. It’s a problem I often encounter in writing this blog. I regularly look at so many photos that at times I lose my ability to tell good from bad, especially to recognize a really good photo when I see it. If you attend art exhibits, you’ll know what I mean; it’s an often noted affliction of museum-goers. As in any line of work, a break is needed now and then.

On coming back from a few days of vacation, I rummaged through photos from earlier this year and found myself thinking, “Hey, that’s not so bad!” or “That’s got possibilities.” I also considered my original reaction to the same, “Argh, that’s no good.”

The problem is compounded for subjects that present themselves often and are irresistible to photograph. Great blue herons are an obvious example. They are wonderfully photogenic. After almost fifty photos of them, though, I wonder when I’ll begin thinking of them as a cliche, a “Motif No. 1.”

Here are two great blue photos, taken thirty seconds apart shortly after noon on April 6th of this year. There’s nothing original about them; they give us no new insight into the great bird, but they are certainly good enough to post, and for readers to enjoy.

There’s a story about the lower photo. The bird is just starting to take off (spooked by the photographer). Over the years, I’ve tried many times to capture the flight of the great blue, but without success. This is the closest I’ve come, and here I was a fraction of a second too early! As I’ve noted elsewhere, the flight response of this big bird is blindingly fast, defeating all my efforts so far to record its graceful flight.

I do have a photo with the blue’s massive wings partly outstretched, but the technical quality is poor. I’ll see if I can clean it up enough to post.

I’ve been looking at some of the newer, longer telephoto lenses. They’ve come down in price while the quality has gone up. If I can get closer optically instead of digitally, I’ll be able to post a better quality image when I do finally get that elusive flight photo.

Update: This post was first published as “Great Blue Heron.” Sorry for any confusion.