Pigeon Point Lighthouse - A Great Blue Heron Takes Flight

A Great Blue Heron takes flight with Pigeon Point Lighthouse as a backdrop and bright yellow spring flowers in the foreground. My experience with these birds are that they are quite skittish and tend to take flight if you approach too quickly or to closely. Not wanting to scare him off, I switched to my 200mm zoom, then sat down in the high grass and very slowly inched my way closer scooting my rear over gopher holes, foxtails and, ouch, a good number of stickers.

I slowly emerged from the higher weeds and he immediately noticed me. I thought for a moment he was going to skip out on me just as I was getting setup. After a few seconds passed, he resumed hunting. After about an hour of shooting and low crawling though the weeds, without warning, he suddenly took flight over the cliff and off out over the Pacific coast.

I can't tell you how relieved I was when got back to the car and reviewed the shots up close. I had been switching between various shutter and aperture settings trying to keep as much of the foreground in focus as was possible and was sure I was at too slow a setting to have caught him in flight so clearly. It really was just a stroke of luck that my shutter speed was at the right setting to get clear detail at the right moment. And the foreground didn't turn out half bad either.

It's spring at Pigeon Point Lighthouse and the fields are covered with yellow and purple flowers. For the record, and so not to confuse anyone, Pigeon Point Lighthouse is named for the clipper ship Carrier Pigeon which ran aground and was slowly torn apart by the rocks below the lighthouse. No lives were lost but it demonstrated a need for a lighthouse on the bluffs above. Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a remarkable landmark with history dating back to the U.S. Civil War.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse - A Great Blue Heron Takes Flight