This weekend I purchased the new Nikon 80-400mm lens (see my video unboxing) and I've been itching to take it for a spin. I headed out to one of my favorite local sites for bird photography, Mason Neck State Park.
Mason Neck has so many birds, you're never sure what you'll actually see! This visit was dominated by a Blue Heron that I befriended and spent over an hour photographing.
As soon as the heron landed in the area of the park where I was working, he was immediately attacked by a group of crows. The crows wanted to make it perfectly clear to this heron that he'd entered their territory! As they flew in to dive bomb the heron, he'd puff up his chest and push out his feathers to look bigger and hiss back at the birds. After a few minutes of asserting himself, the crows returned to their business and let him start searching the waters for fish.
I took a few shots of the Blue Heron as he was puffed up in defense against the crows but liked this one the best for his demeanor. You can look into his eyes and see a bird that is tired of being harassed!
I shot this using the Nikon D800, Nikon 80-400mm (at 400mm), f/5.6 and 1/1000sec. As you can see, the 80-400mm is incredibly sharp and it had no trouble focusing and maintaining focus during all of the activity. I decided to convert it into black and white to highlight the contrast between his long feathers and the background. Edited with Photoshop CS6 and converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.