Last weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing my first ride in a kayak and it was quite a blast. I was riding in my friend Tom Sanders tandem and we were accompanied by fellow Fred Miranda Nature & Wildlife forum members Tim Kuhn and Nello Milanese. Our main target was the Green Heron of which several have been known to inhabit the Arboretum. Until then I hadn’t realized what all the fuss was about wildlife kayak photography, but now I can see how relaxing and exhilarating it can be. Many of the waterfowl seem to pay little attention to people in paddle boats and one can gain much greater proximity to their subjects than be achieved by a land approach.
I was a little nervous about bringing expensive camera gear on board, but at least Canon L lenses are water-resistant as are their 1D series DSLR bodies. Speaking of which, it was my first real outing with the new 1D MarkIII that I recently acquired. This body is a NW nature photographers dream. It’s auto-focusing/tracking technology is quite a step above the MkII is superb for birds-in flight. The high ISO/low-noise capability make it perfect for shooting in our often gray skies. Aside from all the other great features, the image quality seems to be quite a step up also. I know Canon had some problems with the initial production runs of this body, but what I have been seeing following the fixes and firmware upgrades have been a lot of extremely high quality imagery.
We did find a few juvenile Green Herons that morning. If you’ve ever tried to get close to these very skittish birds you know how challenging it can be. This particular youngster may have just awoken from a nap and let us rattle off a number of exposures prior to becoming fed up with our presence.
Green Heron – Washington Park Arboretum – Seattle, Washington
Copyright © 2009 Jay Taylor Photography Image taken using the Canon 1D MkIII set on aperture priority (Av) with EF-S 500/4L IS USM + 1.4X teleconverter. Handheld. The exposure was taken at 700mm, f/5.6 for 1/250th of a second at ISO 800 usingCenter-weighted averaging metering. Post processing done in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS3.