Great Blue Heron in Black and White – High Noon in the Swamp


Linda, this one’s for you. Not sure I am finished messing around with this image but it is an example of harsh light streaming down through the green canopy at Sweetwater Strand and how it might lend itself well towards a black and white treatment. I felt the color was washed out sans any heroic saving via Photoshop. The pose itself for me is interesting as preening produces many interesting feather and wing positions I seem to find texturally and artistically interesting. Because the lighting is harsh there is a curved arc of dark shadow on the lower part of the body on the left side which I couldn’t see the source of. Since I generally don’t like hard lines I softened that some with shadowing but maybe better to leave as is. It is a natural shadow after all.

Par for the course, now that I’ve made the black and white the color version with its muted high key colors is looking interesting now. Photographers are so fickle! Ok maybe me?  Hope you like the pose too?

Have fun in the wild this weekend!! Will watch for some awesome images of your wilderness!!



~ by Judy on June 14, 2019.

7 Responses to “Great Blue Heron in Black and White – High Noon in the Swamp”

  1. The B&W version brings out more clearly the sinuousness of the heron’s pose. In my opinion.

    • That is a good impression which I second. I think sinuous is a good word. Most of the time if I do a BW bird, it is usually a white bird as it makes an easy natural contrast. But, the shapes and shadows of any scene might be tempting to convert as it does create a different mood. The bird looks sinuous in the falling light. Yeah!!

  2. Here I am late as can be — but what a beauty! And even though I don’t generally favor black and white, I really like this. Those highlights, that probably would seem harsh in color, seem to really fit here. The feather details, and the corresponding curves of the head and the body are especially nice.

    I was overwhelmed by the variety I found in the Big Thicket. Most of my photos have been tossed at this point: too dark, or too light, or too out-of-focus. But in nearly every case I ended up with one or two that pleased me, and I’m anxious to share them — once I get over being paralyzed by which to choose, and how to arrange them! I can’t wait to go back!

    • I understand totally the sense of paralysis when choosing what to work on out of a group of images from a shoot. When you are out there I think you have a sense that something will be good. You see the composition and the light and think that. So several shots are taken. For me it seems to boil down to which pose I like or which angle of the setting before I get there. However time works wonders too as I’ve gone back and wondered why the heck I didn’t think something was workable the first time.

      I am glad you found merit in the black and white GBH. I wanted to you have it as an example of something I said somewhere about light, color, bw treatments. Some of the shots had the same light but not as harsh. Clouds moved, the sun moved. You know. For this I wanted to show how the light just seems to fall through the foliage lighting everything in its path.

      I look forward to seeing what you choose out of your trip images as I am sure it will give a lovely view of a place I have never visited. That is the great thing about this platform. We can experiment and learn ourselves then travel to places through the words, art, and photographs of others. How great is that!!

  3. Your blog arrived on my computer screen today and felt like the wave of warm, humid air washing over me as I open the front door. Comfortable, refreshing, relaxing – Floridian.

    As a native of this Sunshine State, I savor word descriptions such as you have provided about your environment, trying to create order from chaos, analyzing the light. From your previous post, you said: “… the tangle of life in the everglades and cypress swamps… “.

    From that tangle of life, you present a Great Blue Heron. Often overlooked by photographers due to its seeming omnipresence, it is, for me, the quintessential “Florida” bird! The black and white image proves that one does not need color or digital manipulation to display the perfection of nature.

    Thank you for sharing the beauty you encounter. I look forward to returning for more of your wonderful perceptions!

    • It is so nice to meet you. I feel I’ve encountered a kindred spirit! At least when you opened the front door you didn’t mentioned any mosquitoes flying in!! That has to be good! I too greatly admire the majesty of the Great Blue Heron and it remains a thrill when they are near. The bird that got me into bird photography was its white color morph or subspecies depending on who you listen to….the Great White Heron. Now that one is truly a Keys bird not occurring north of the lower everglades. One picture I took of the Great Blue has such a commanding expression that I felt it was channeling a Seminole Indian Chief as it surveyed its watery domain. Not sure how we got the Northern Mockingbird for the state bird. For me I thought the Ibis in flocks sailing over the glades should be the one.

      Now I need to go visit you!!

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