Herons are a fairly common sight on Bude’s canal and marshes though rarely this close. The many dogs and their owners generally scare them off but not here and the reason, I guess, was that the heron was probably pretty hungry.
This was taken the morning after one of the many Atlantic storms this winter, one that had raged for over two days, during which I doubt the heron was able to feed. Even in the calm after the storm the canal water was stirred up, muddy and probably very difficult for the heron to see into.
We had parked at the far end of the canal at Helebridge, walked along it, and wandered into Bude where we spent an hour or so; an hour and a half after taking this picture we walked back up the canal. The heron was in exactly the same spot. Still hungry I guess.
Bude Canal, Bude, Cornwall, UK
Camera: Olympus E-M1
Lens: Olympus M 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II
Focal Length: 208mm
Shutter Speed: 1/250s
The rather unattractive muddy water made this a no-brainer for a black and white conversion. Before doing the conversion I used Uwe Steinmüller's Highlight Resolver script on the heron's neck feathers to bring out some texture in these highlights. The conversion was done in Silver Efex Pro using a purple filter to darken the greenery behind the heron, followed by a little selenium toning. This left the heron's eye too dark though so I careful brought it up with a masked curve layer applied in screen mode, twice. Finally a little dodging and burning was done to really make the heron stand out against the background.