During a recent photography excursion to Charleston Lake in Charleston, Arkansas, I was rewarded with a majestic sight – a Great Blue Heron perched at the lake’s dam, its long toes just lifting from the edge as it prepared for flight. This regal bird, standing over four feet tall with a wingspan exceeding six feet, never fails to impress. With its distinctive blue-gray plumage and slender neck outstretched, the Great Blue Heron cuts an iconic figure near the water bodies it calls home.

Great Blue Heron Lifting Off From Earthen Dam

Great Blue Heron Lifting Off From Earthen Dam

As it hunted for aquatic prey, no doubt having spotted a potential meal with its sharp vision, I was able to photograph the heron just before it took to the air. For lovers of nature and photography alike, sights like this represent the true wonder of the outdoors. There exists unparalleled beauty in moments like these – creatures going about the age-old rituals of survival, heedless of watching human eyes.

It’s sights like these that remind me why I’m willing to wait – sometimes for hours – for the perfect photograph. Patience and an eye for composition allow me to capture splendor in a frame, preserving instants that would otherwise already have slipped into memory. As a photographer, my goal is to showcase the marvels of the natural world.

On this particular morning, I was fortunate to glimpse the Great Blue Heron from inside my pickup truck, resting my camera gently on a bean bag atop the open window. Mere days ago, I had captured another photograph of what I believe was this very same magnificent bird, framed against the morning sky as it lifted itself from the lake near the dam. Moments like these make the early morning hours of waiting worthwhile, allowing me to document the timeless beauty of nature in an instant.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM


  • Location: Charleston City Lake (Arkansas)
  • Date and Time Taken: January 23, 2023 (09:50 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f7.1
  • Shutter speed: 1/3200
  • ISO: 640 (Auto)
  • Exposure Compensation:  -1 EV
  • Focal Length: 500 mm