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New Bird in Town – D810 Comments

I’ve blogged here on numerous occasions about urban wildlife such as the blue heron’s that frequent Elm Park.  (Elm Park is located in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts).  Today, however, we found ourselves confronted with a heron of a different color, white.


I did a bit of quick research upon returning home, looking at questions such as “what is the difference between a heron and an egret?” and “what is the range of the white egret, or heron?”  Alas, my efforts were somewhat frustrated.   According to Wikipedia the difference between heron and egret is largely terminological rather than biological.  Egrets tend to be white.  If you google the two terms and check on images, you’ll see the same kinds of images.  My bottom line question really was:  are they new in town?  Memory tells me yes.  They are very common in the mid-Atlantic and further south, but I don’t recall seeing too many in New England.  Someone educate me if my memory is off, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Photographing these birds is relatively easy.  You can get quite close if are are respectful and quiet. After all, this was in a downtown park, not exactly the middle of the marsh.  Herons also don’t seem to be easily distracted from their work, which is fishing.  Unfortunately for this fair specimen, he was having little luck.  We watched him for quite some time and he was coming up empty beaked, every time.  Herons are usually better at their jobs than that.  This one may need to step up his game.  The best shot is often one with them flying in or out, or exhibiting their catch.  This guy stood there and though his forays into the water were very graceful, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.


It was tough to get another interesting shot until a well timed flock of geese flew across the scene.  He was actually startled for a second, but the incident did give me some background that was badly needed.




It will be interesting to see if his presence in the Park is a trend or an outlier.  Or, as I mentioned above, is only of interest because of my failing memory.  Regardless, I do wish him good luck fishing.  He needs it.

Tech Note:

Much as I dislike the kind of photographic gear discussions that take place on the internet, I did want to mention that these shots were taken with Nikon’s newest DSLR, the D810.  I’ve been a Nikon user for many years, and really enjoyed the image output from the D800.  If you print large for exhibitions, all those pixels are useful.  Plus, the D800 has incredible dynamic range, very useful for nature work.  However, it always felt to me like it was really a studio, tripod camera, and handled more like the medium format cameras it has been replacing.  I also like to shot more spontaneously from time to time.  The D810 now makes that possible.  In many different ways, Nikon fixed things that weren’t broken, but made it hard to really relax with the D800.  The grip is better, the shutter is much quieter, the shutter mechanism does not create vibrations that undermine the high resolution power of the images, the video features are improved, etc.  In this case, all those pixels allowed me to crop heavily into the image.  These are all the equivalent of a 100% crop.  Obviously I should have had a longer lens, but alas, I did not.  I could go on and on, but others are doing a much better job of actually reviewing this piece of gear.  If you have a D800 though, it may not look like a worthwhile upgrade.  It actually may be for some people, particularly those desiring to make the D800 a real “go to” camera.  Again, I dislike tribal gear discussions.  All cameras these days are quite good.  It really boils down to trying to find the one that does the job you need, and with which you can be most comfortable.  That is likely to vary from person to person.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sandra #

    You are remarkable the way you manage to get so close to capture an interesting moment. A blue heron lives near us, and we’d love to get such great shots. Beautiful!

    August 8, 2014
  2. What I have been holding back on getting this camera is I do (or did) not feel it is a wildlife camera. It seems overly sharp in your images and one thing that kept me from purchasing it was the frames per second, which I do need for my bird photos. This would kinda defeat having all those pixels if the camera takes too long to buffer or I could not hand hold the camera for my shots.

    August 8, 2014
    • Agreed, I didn’t think it would be either. The camera is now far more responsive than the D800 and I have been reading on the web that others have had a similar sense. It is not a D4 or 1Dx, for sure, but far better than the D800 IMHO. Probably good enough for my purposes. Your comment about the sharpness is interesting. I don’t sharpen my images usually, but did export from Lightroom with a “sharpen for web” setting. I actually thought they looked a little soft. I was shooting with the Nikon 24 – 120 F4, which is a good lens but I never thought it was the best of the bunch, and these were heavily cropped. I’ll have to do some more thinking about that issue though. Thanks for stopping by.

      August 10, 2014
  3. Gladys #

    This is a Great Egret (as opposed to Snowy Egret, mostly seen on Cape Cod, Wellfleet Sanctuary). According to Peter Alden’s Audubon Field Guide to New England, the Great does disperse inland to central & southern New England, and nests with other (heron) species. Great photos.

    August 9, 2014
    • Thank you! Yes, definitely on the Cape. Their nesting behavior is quite interesting.

      August 10, 2014

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