Night Heron 1
Night Heron with Catfish
I went to the LA Arboretum to photograph Epiphyllum and ended up photographing this Night Heron for about an hour. It was a great experience watching this bird's behavior. He had caught a catfish which was simply too large for him the gulp down. He kept trying to position the fish for an easy meal but the catfish kept moving around so he couldn't get it in the proper position.
While I watched this amusing behavior, a couple of turtles were slowly sneaking up on the heron. They figured that they could grab the catfish away from the Night Heron when he would drop it. The night Heron actually dropped the catfish several times before the turtles finally got a hold of it. The Night Heron flew away.
I took several hundred images but it wasn't till the Night Heron moved into position in front of a ray of light that I got the image above. The scene was really dark and dingy so the slightest amount of reflecting light made a lot of difference. The water was also pretty awful looking as this event took place in a back bay and all the debris from the rest of the lake had accumulated in this area. I had to jack up the ISO on the camera body to reduce blur. I did get some images of the turtles sneaking up on the Night Heron, but without the beam of light, the image was also dark and dingy. Photography is light!
The image above was shot with a 200-400 F4.0 zoom on a cropped frame DSLR, F6.3 with ISO 1280, mounted on tripod with Gimbal head.
Additional images Night Herons can be viewed here.