I recently had the opportunity to photograph a beautiful Green Heron at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I parked in Miner’s Cove, which has become my favorite local spot for observing and photographing wildlife like Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, Barred Owls, and even a Cinnamon Raccoon.
On July 7th, this Green Heron landed on a log in the water not far from where I was parked. I was excited to potentially capture it hunting and catching a fish meal, since Green Herons are known for their fascinating fishing technique of using bait to lure prey. Unfortunately it remained perched during my observation. I still seized the chance to photograph this amazing bird.
I had my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera on a beanbag placed on my truck’s door window, with my Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens and a Canon EF 1.4X III Telephoto Extender attached. The extender allowed me to get tighter framing on the heron while it was farther away. Since an extender slows down the max aperture, I was limited to the center auto focus point at f/8.
The heron was in low light near the water, so I used settings of 1/200 sec shutter speed at f8.0 and ISO 1250 to freeze the motion and compensate for the lighting. While high ISO isn’t ideal, the speed was necessary. I used manual mode with auto ISO and single point focus to precisely control the exposure and focus accuracy.
Although the heron wasn’t actively hunting, I’m very pleased with the images I captured. The details, colors, and beautiful pose against the water turned out nicely. I’m looking forward to studying the Green Heron’s fascinating fishing skills on a future visit!
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer