Downstream from the Slide Fire

May 29, 2014  •  2 Comments

If you linked over here from Arizona Highways' Slide Fire blog, the squirrels in my computer are feverishly working to compile those time-lapse sequences which I hope to post soon.  In the meantime here are some of the images I was capturing the day the fire started.  These were taken further down Oak Creek at Page Springs.

D'oh, missed!  A Green Heron emerges from the water empty-billed.  I'm used to seeing Green Herons stalk prey along the water's edge, but this guy was hunting from a guardrail over a pond and making dives for prey from there. 

 

Got it!  This time the heron scores a yummy Tiger Salamander.  I saw him gulp down three or four of these in half an hour.

 

This is how my new computer is making me feel right now.

 

While the Green Heron hunted from it's perch, a Great Blue Heron cruised past through some nice light.

 

This Great-tailed Grackle did not like the GBH coming so close to his tree.

 

So the Grackle chases off the heron.

 

While we're on the subject of herons, this Black-crowned Night Heron was hunting above one of the raceways at the hatchery.  It was real windy - bad news for the growing fire to the north and a challenge for the heron to stay on the oscillating wire.  The wires across the raceways are designed to disrupt merganser flight paths, but unintentionally provided this bird with a hunting perch (avian predation accounts for a 30% kill rate on fish in the uncovered raceways).

 

Here's one for the photo geeks who wonder why anyone would ever shoot at 102400 ISO (not a typo) and if such camera settings are just BS selling points.  This was shot on a Nikon D4s at dusk, a 500mm handheld at 1/50 sec (also not a typo), wide open at f/4 - thanks VR, and thanks that the wind had calmed a bit by then.  Massaged quite a bit with NR in Lightroom.

 

Thanks for checking these out and please visit again soon for the time-lapse fire shots.


Comments

Sharon(non-registered)
Stunning, John! That one of the Heron with his head upside down is so bizarre and funny! Thanks for you posts.
Amy(non-registered)
OK so whenever I shoot a GBH or other heron I feel like I'm succumbing to "ubiquitous formulaic heron shot" habit. Must rethink that. NICE John!
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