Some history and a couple of herons

I was inspired by Babsje to post my own bit of Heron History, though it doesn’t begin to match her amazing heron shots or reach to an era as far back.

Still… way back in my ancient history when my very first 35mm SLR camera was new, I lived in San Francisco. I loved to do day trips heading north or south up the coast. Just the other day I was sorting and organizing some old shots from those days and came across my very first heron capture. Back then, I didn’t even know what it was. I snapped what was simply a very big bird.heron-64Look closely and you’ll find it in front of the fence, about a third of the way from the right edge. The image quality is poor, likely more to do with scanning old slides or negatives that weren’t always treated kindly. In some ways that old 35 mm Pentax performed better than the fancy digital gadget I use these days, but hopefully the stuff on my hard drive won’t suffer from the ravages of time quite the same way.heron-65

Of course, even back then, I was already getting butt shots. This is likely my very first one of that genre.
(as usual, click on any image below for a better look or mouse over for captions)

I think a bit more experience and the longer lens might have helped….

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood–
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
― Theodore Roethke


28 thoughts on “Some history and a couple of herons

  1. I have been back in to my archives the digital stuff re-edited with new knowledge these have been a success but my wet film and slides far less so – probably my inability but photography now a days is easier to capture. but still needs composition and photographic basics to pop. Either way a trip in to the archives is rewarding and well worth doing.


  2. I love the great blue heron but think I favor the sandhill crane a bit more. Hope you get to see one someday Gunta. Better yet, hope you get to capture some images and share them with us. 🙂

    I happen to like your butt shots, particularly the one where you captured a bit of splash as he left the water.


  3. Thanks for the very kind words, and for sharing your own herons! I especially love hearing about the early days of other photographers, and how their expressions, or vision, change and grow over the years, the processes are often fascinating. I have enjoyed your seascapes, especially, over the past year. When did you get your first camera, do you remember? I inherited my first camera from my grandfather when I was 7. How lucky I was that he had the prescience to leave his camera to me, of all five of his grandchildren.


    • Thank you for your very kind words as well. I think I was given my first camera one Christmas. I’ve tried to pin down the year, but it must have been sometime in the early 50s. It was a Brownie (Hawkeye, I think). Black and white, of course, and I enjoyed shooting pictures of friends and family. It seems I’ve always had a camera though I don’t remember what followed the Brownie. The 35 mm Pentax wasn’t until around 1973 and that’s when I started seeing the wonders of the world around me and wanting to shoot or record them. Living in San Francisco and having the opportunity to roam the coast certainly helped to inspire me. It was pure magic. It didn’t hurt that I later moved up into the Sierras to Placerville (between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe) where I had a chance to roam the mountains. Then there were the annual cross-country drives back to Boston to visit family, stopping in many of the National Parks and other interesting places. That was in the later 70s, before many of the parks became more popular and crowded. Thanks for encouraging me to look back at these times. It’s been a good life…… and here on the Oregon coast it’s only gotten better! 😀


  4. They are such wonderful creatures, aren’t they?! Their eyes fascinate me…had a staring contest with one once and I felt as if he could see right through me. Such a piercing stare!


    • Oh, they certainly are wonderful. I don’t know that I’ve ever managed to get close enough to get the stare. Ours out here seem to be extremely shy. It takes a very long lens and a bit of cropping to get the above (more recent) shots.


    • It sure was a kick stumbling over that shot of the GBH from the very early 70s. Back then I had no idea what I was shooting. I’m so happy to have become more familiar with this wonderful bird, both seeing them around here and through your wonderful shots.


    • I was rather amazed at how well the slides did, considering I wasn’t as careful with them as I should have been. I’ve posted some from the past in previous posts, mostly from cross-country trips I did in the 70s. All of my favorites from San Francisco were stolen along with a slide projector just days before I moved. I would have gladly given the thief the projector if he’d just left the slides. 😥


    • Aren’t those GBHs wonderful? Though I’d give a lot to see some cranes. They’ve been on my Bucket list for a long, long time. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to see a Sandhill or a Whooping Crane.


  5. I recently bought a slide/negative scanner to access some of my grandfather’s photos – remarkable results considering the basic nature of the camera he used! Didn’t make up for the fact he was a dreadful photographer, always cutting heads off people 😀 Your butt shots are great.


  6. These aren’t bad for how old they are. I looked at the slides that I shot in Yellowstone in the late 70’s just recently, and they are fading badly even though most were shot on Kodachrome slide film and the slides have been in trays in boxes for storage. I too started with a Pentax, a Spotmatic II that I bought used. Loved that camera!


    • The first two heron shots were probably taken around ’72 or ’73. Definitely when the camera was relatively new to me. All things considered, the slides held up a lot better than some negatives I shot. I think I generally went with Ektachrome, but switched around some. I think my first Pentax was an ES (with a screw mount?), later I switched to a K (K-2?) with the bayonet mount. Can’t remember why I bought the new one, but the old one went to a stepson. He still has it. I suspect it might have been more or less to give the kid a good camera. Come to think of it, I also gave him the newer K with all the lenses when I switched to Canon. 🙂


    • I shattered my ankle a few years ago and couldn’t put any weight on the foot for over two months, so I scanned all of my old slides and negatives. Sadly, the scanner developed a nasty dark streak that ruined some of the batches I scanned near the end. It was great unloading (trashing) and organizing boxes of old prints. Of course the scanned results were often quite disappointing, but then there’s nostalgia and memories tied up with those old photos, so it’s hard to completely let go of even some of the rotten shots! 😉


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