White Heron from Grassy Waters Preserve

Jan 13, 2011 | Animals & Wildlife

I photographed this White Heron at Grassy Waters Preserve, a very cool wetland area which is conveniently located a few minutes away from where I live. Anyone looking to see the everglades in it’s most natural state, Grassy Waters is the place to be. This preserve also has an abundance of wildlife which can be be seen throughout the day, including otters, gators, boars, and many different birds.

White Herons are very common in South Florida, and can be seen almost anywhere near water. These birds are extremely beautiful given the right circumstances.

To photograph any white bird properly you’ll need to drop the f-stop by at least one. This is to maintain details in the feathers so they don’t get blown out.

No HDR on this image. HDR wasn’t necessary because the light was behind me and there wasn’t much dynamic range overall to be captured.

Processing was done using Photoshop Elements 9 for the entire photo. I was amazed to find that PSE9 does have Layer Masking, which brings it a step closer to the Standard version of Photoshop.

So how much processing did I do to this image? Quite a bit… you see the composition I wanted was spread out among 5 photos. I took pieces from each photo to make this image come out the way I wanted. The main image of the White Heron was missing a quarter of the right wing as well as the head. By bringing in parts of the White Heron from different images I was able to build a spectacular photo of this beautiful bird.

I really put PSE9 to the test with this image and it processed this photo admirably. However, printing the photo was a different story. The print feature in PSE9 still lacks basic options making it very difficult to print from, forcing me to go to the standard version of Photoshop just to print the photo.

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Photography Style: Digital Photography
Digital Camera Used: Canon 5D Mark2
Lens Used: Canon 100-400mm f/5.6L USM
Photo Location: Grassy Waters, Palm Beach County, Florida