Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I have never had a great blue heron be quite as cooperative as this one, which I photographed in October at Bothin Marsh along Richardson Bay after spending the sunrise at the Golden Gate Bridge. I saw this GBH and its snowy egret posse a ways off by the shore of the bay, and decided to take a stroll along a side trail in that direction to attempt a few shots before the last of the nice light faded away. Much to my surprise, he showed very little interest in me as I approached, and as I casually crept closer over a period of 20 minutes or so, he occasionally glanced in my direction but never showed any signs of interest or distress. Eventually I was able to get close enough to take this full-frame portrait of him, as well as a few from other angles with different backdrops. While it was great to get some nice poses, it was almost a little boring, as he just sat there staring off at the bay! After I fired off way too many similar shots like this one, I thanked him (as I often do for my cooperative subjects), and slowly backed my way out of the area.
The nonchalance of this heron is one advantage I find to spending some time in more urban parks. I have had many fairly close encounters in Bothin Marsh, and I think its due to the fact that what seems like thousands of people use this stretch of the Bay Trail daily, and the birds seem to get used to the commotion and could basically care less if you are there snapping away.