Bird, wildlife, and landscape photography by Jon Rista
Night Heron at Night
I don’t often photograph anything over ISO 1600 these days, as on the 7D, such images get quite noisy. This past weekend I spent nearly a full day at Cherry Creek, and through sunset. About a half hour after sunset, I noticed a shape out on the water at the Cottonwood Creek pond as I headed back to my car. It turned out to be a Black-crowned Night Heron. I could hardly see it, as the sky was getting quite dark with some clouds moving in. Thankfully my camera has the potential to see much better in the dark than I can. True to their name, night herons often fish at night, and can be quite successful at it. No action from this guy, but I thought the lighting turned out interesting given that the scene appeared entirely dark to my eyes.
The bird did not move a twitch the whole time I was setting up, nor while I photographed it. That allowed me to use a 1/6th second shutter speed at ISO 3200! I would rarely think of using a shutter speed below 1/20th to 1/30th (for a “pleasing blur” as they are called…photographs of birds in flight at a slow shutter speed in order to exaggerate their motion.) I was surprised that any creature, especially a bird, could hold so still as to appear entirely motionless and allow such a slow exposure of itself.