While exploring the tranquil wetlands of the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma on May 15th, I was fortunate to capture a breathtaking scene – a stately Great Blue Heron perched upon a weathered log near the Tuff Boat Ramp on the refuge’s western edge. Using my trusted Fujifilm X-T3 camera and Canon EF 100-400mm lens, I was able to seize the moment just before the heron took flight, framing a shot that encapsulates the grace and nobility of this magnificent bird.
To achieve the ideal exposure, I set my camera to aperture priority mode at f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/1250 second and ISO of 800. A -0.7 exposure value allowed me to artfully portray the scene. The morning light cast a perfect glow on the heron’s blue-gray plumage as it stood motionless, patiently scanning the water for its next meal.
Capturing images of wildlife like the Great Blue Heron is a reminder of nature’s wonder and the importance of preserving their habitats. Once threatened by hunting for their decorative plumes, heron populations have rebounded thanks to conservation efforts. Though large in stature, these birds are lightweight and agile flyers. I feel privileged to have documented a fleeting yet memorable encounter with one of North America’s most iconic avian species. The sight of this noble heron will stay etched in my mind, and now, enshrined in a photograph for others to appreciate as well.