Capturing the Grace of a Great Blue Heron at Horton Slough

I recently had the pleasure of photographing one of nature’s most elegant birds – the Great Blue Heron. During a visit to Oklahoma’s Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, I came across this beauty standing stoically in the Horton Slough.

Great Blue Heron With Reflection
Great Blue Heron With Reflection

After two unsuccessful trips around the wildlife tour road, I decided to stop by the popular fishing spot at the slough, figuring the abundant fish would attract hungry herons. Although the area is usually busy with anglers, I lucked out finding it deserted that morning.

The Great Blue Herons here tend to be comfortable around people, providing a rare opportunity to photograph them up close. This fellow barely flinched as I pulled up in my truck and started shooting through the open window with my camera mounted on a bean bag.

When I realized my presence wasn’t disturbing his morning fish hunt, I quietly opened the door to gain an extra foot of shooting distance. The soft early morning light captured the subtle colors of his dignified pose as he concentrated on the water below.

Although I didn’t expect to find many people out the day after Christmas, the refuge was bustling with duck hunters scouting locations for an upcoming youth hunt. Thankfully, they hadn’t yet made it to this heron’s favorite breakfast spot.

Photographing wildlife often requires more patience than skill. After two fruitless trips around the tour route, I was rewarded with this serene encounter. The gorgeous great blue heron, glinting in the dawn light amid the stark winter landscape, made the early morning expedition worthwhile.

Moments like these remind me to appreciate the graceful beauty hidden in nature if you take the time to discover it. I’m thankful to have captured this majestic fellow and look forward to returning to the refuge to see what other natural treasures I might uncover.

I did make another trip through the refuge where I discovered a large Raccoon: A Portly Raccoon At Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

Image Information:

  • Date: 12/26/19
  • Time: 08:59 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: EF 500mm f/4L IS USM
  • ISO: 800
  • Aperture: 5.6
  • Shutter: 1/250
  • Exp. Comp.: 0
  • Lens (mm): 500
  • Program Mode: Aperture Priority