Great Blue Heron-Artistic Treatments


It is difficult not to revisit my photo files of a great day at the rookery and so I am submitting two artisitic treatments of  the nesting Great Blue Herons for view. This is why I never get very far in the ruthless deletion process, I see things I want to work on more than I want to clean house! A recurring problem you see!! Big Sigh….

The picture above I lent some texture layers for what felt more painterly and livened up the light in the green leaves. The pose with the arched neck is one of my favourites when a mate arrives with either food or nesting materials. The picture below is also a pose of the bird preening I have seen before and is one of my favorites too. I find the turn of the neck and the head position pleasing when they do this.  It reminds me of the kinds of positions that Audubon would like as he posed his birds such that he could get the entire bird on a single ‘elephant’ sized paper. While he drew from life and his drawings breathe in ways no other artist, that I know of, has achieved, he did draw from birds that were shot for the purpose. While some may cringe at that knowledge, he gave us great beauty and through his work instilled his deep appreciation which still mesmerizes today!!


~ by Judy on December 20, 2012.

10 Responses to “Great Blue Heron-Artistic Treatments”

  1. Those look great!

  2. I went over and had a look at some Audubon prints. I didn’t realize how deeply he immersed himself in the physiology of the birds in order to make his drawings. They’re extraordinary, and I really do think that today’s photographers also have the ability to get “into a bird’s world” through some of their post-processing techniques. Audubon’s drawings aren’t “mechanistic” at all – it’s just so interesting to see how closely that top photo looks like his work. I love your work here!

    • Thank you very much! John James Audubon was very much a scientist as well as being a true woodsman and an artist with a style seeming so modern by even today’s standards. His life and times are truly interesting and reflect all the spirit you’d expect of a time when our country was new–with all the excitement of exploration, moving west, and the discovery of new and wonderful birds along the way! I was a late bloomer in coming to appreciate Audubon. Until I started taking pictures of birds and marveling over their movements, feather detail, and the growth of new feathers on the young, I did not understand the accuracy, detail and beauty of his work. There is so much to say about him!

      There are many biographies of Audubon around but this one by William Souder I read and loved immensely:

      Under A Wild Sky

      I did find it amusing how little Audubon liked the Florida swamps. His Ornithological Biographies (which are very interesting reading..esp my favs of the Great Blue Heron, Great White Heron, Louisiana Heron…). He definitely described the swamp heronry’s as dismal places with lots of putrefying remains of fish and other things the adults brought back to their nests for hungry young!! Too funny really and I can just see it!!

  3. So very lovely…. The composition is just sublime!

    • Thank you much!! With all the fast action I always see more great compositions than I capture. But, I am always grateful for the opportunity to be there and capture some of the activity and picture the rest in my memory!!

      • SO true… so true. Just this morning, I tried to snag some wild turkey (I’m up north!); there were some lovely scenes within FEET. Until, that is…our giant chocolate lab frightened them. Ah well. I remember their loveliness. 🙂

  4. Judy, I’ve nominated you for the “Blog of the Year” Award. To see the nomination, visit the post: / I hope you have a wonderful new year!
    ~ Sandy

  5. I just received this amazing card in the mail! What an absolutely stunning image, and the artistic treatment makes it sing. Thank you Judy for capturing this elegant bird so beautifully! Love, love, love it!

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