Skimming Heron

This week I’m on a working vacation visiting my dad and stepmother in Satellite Beach, Florida where an abundance of waterfowl can be witnessed skimming the surface of the Banana River.

I took this photograph just after sunrise on my first morning here and decided to try my hand at a technique called panning. In nutshell, panning involves tracking the subject you’re shooting at the same speed it is moving. When combined with a low shutter speed, panning can yield unexpected and painterly effects, as in this image. The blurred results convey the motion and speed at which the heron was flying as it skimmed the surface of the water and I’m pretty happy with the result. 

Remembering you’ve set your shutter speed low can be a bit of a challenge, as was the case this particular morning. What followed were several super-blurred images of pelicans flying overhead – not a huge mistake given I was just out on the dock goofing around with my camera.

Something funny that happened is another heron came flying right toward me prior to taking this shot, proving that you don’t ALWAYS have to have a telephoto lens to take bird images. You can see in the shot below that my lens was way too long to take in the entire bird, and I was so startled I almost fell over!


Photo Credits: Skimming Heron by Susan J. Preston, Santa Fe, NM © 2019, all rights reserved
Technical: Fuji XT-3 | 400mm (XF 100-400mm  f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR) | 1/150 at f5.6 | ISO 1000

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