Great Blue Heron – Birding In Yosemite

Sometimes conditions are just too perfect. On this cool October day, the Merced River became a photographer’s heaven. I was able to shoot beautiful long exposure falls with autumn leaf backgrounds. Not only that, but the park wildlife was out in full force! Not only did I photograph a mama bear & cubs, but also this elegant great blue heron, perched on a log.

 Great Blue Heron in Yosemite - Autumn
Yosemite Birding in the Fall

I spotted him from far away, and began slowly creeping up over the boulders to get a better look. I took pictures along the way, just in case my movement scared him away at any point. This is a technique I learned long ago…don’t wait to take the photo!

Get as many as you can as you approach. That way you’re bound to have a least some shots that can work.

Bird perched on a large fallen tree
Perched on a large fallen tree

Of course, having the incredible reach of a stabalized 600mm lens is a big help, too. I loved how this bird was illuminated in the afternoon sunlight, with a dark, shady background to really make him pop. You really notice it below.

Great Blue Heron – Posing on One Leg

Large Water bird balanced on one foot
Balancing Act

Kind of funny how he was balanced like this, too! Who does he think he is, the Karate Kid? It makes me wonder what the purpose of this is. Could it be that he needs to take turns resting each leg. If so, why? Anyway, as you can see, here I was getting closer and closer…

Great Blue Heron Portrait in Yosemite
What a graceful, slender, bird

This last photo was the best I could do. By this point I was quite exposed on the rocks. At a certain point he finally got spooked and flew away. However, I felt like I got the shots I was after. Now that I think about it, this is the only great blue heron I’ve seen in Yosemite, though I don’t think they’re rare.

Don’t forget to have a look at my main Yosemite wildlife gallery.

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About My Photos

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.