Never Leave Home...

April 21, 2016  •  2 Comments

HeronHeronCopyrighted Digital Image


…without a camera. I mean a “real” camera, not a phone. As I shared in last week’s blog, I am presently suffering from health issues that make it uncomfortable to carry my usual weight of equipment in a backpack. Nevertheless, I went out walking with a visiting friend and chose to lighten my load, by carrying “only” a D800 and a good quality, albeit relatively short reach 24-70mm zoom, all of which was attached to a monopod. A total of 3 or 4 kilos, I would estimate. As we walked in the Tuileries Gardens, I was attracted to investigate a crowd of onlookers, who were interested in something in one of the ponds. This is the result.


Ignore Your Friends!


Without a thought for my duties as a host, I abandoned our friend and headed for the crowd. There, in the centre of Paris, was a beautiful heron, which seemed unperturbed by the humans lining the edge of the pond as he/she concentrated on finding a meal swimming around below.


The bird moved here and there, still staying within the confines of the pond and I settled into a café chair with my wife and our guest, as we discussed the menu. Then my “subject” moved onto the edge of the pond not far from me and I decided to pounce. I again abandoned my friend and my wife and sped off to focus on the gorgeous creature (other than my wife, I mean). I don’t know why, but herons have always held a special place in my enjoyment of nature. They seem so solitary, graceful and, somehow, peaceful. I photographed it as it stood and silently hunted, but I was mainly waiting for it to take off. 




I was extremely keen to capture the bird in flight, so speed and focussing accuracy was key. I set the focussing choice to “continuous” and a high ISO of 2000, although it was a sunny day, such that a speed of 1/2000s resulted.


Secondly, since I had made a weight-reducing choice before I left home, I did not have access to my favourite 70-200mm zoom. As per my blog last week, I “tricked” the camera to lengthen the reach of the lens by adjusting to the DX format, which give a 1.5x increment to apparent focal length. Thus I was effectively able to max it out at 105mm.




These settings still resulted in a rather large view of the target subject in the captured image, so I had to crop down rather severely to about 1/3 of the original image. The 36.3 effective megapixel size of sensor was an aid to keeping the final, shrunken image at a decent quality.


Equally my new processing software (Capture One 9) was helpful in seamlessly cleaning up some distractions caused by detritus in the water and delicately sharpening the image. I hope you enjoy the result.





Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: VR 24-70mm zoom f/2.8

Focal Length: 70mm x 1.5 = 105mm

VR: N.A.

Focus Mode: AF-C

Aperture: f/8

Shutter Speed: 1/2000s

Auto Focus-Area Mode: Continuous

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Compensation: 0 EV

Metering: Matrix

ISO Sensitivity: 2000

Mounted on monopod


The motto of this week’s blog is: Never leave home without a camera – ever!


Copyright Paul Grayson 2016 All Rights Reserved


Superbe image. Couleur, piqué, mouvement, lumière, tout y est !
Pierre Tran(non-registered)
This is excellent, a pin sharp shot of the heron's eye, every feather clear under that bright sunshine.
Well done.
And one wonders if the heron found a fish for a meal.
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