When I’m taking photos, I focus on landscape vistas to capture the places that I have wandered through. Sometimes a single event, plant, or animal, sparks my interest. Then all my attention is centered.
This happened on a beach hike at Mustang Island State Park in Texas. It was a windy, cloudy day. The Gulf of Mexico was a rolling mess, washing over the beach and my feet. Energetic waves pounded the rocky jetties. Not long into my hike, sea spray coated my glasses.
Due to the high winds, the birds along the beach would waddle or frantically flap their wings to hop away from me as I strolled pass. The gulls, who could get airborne, would flap wildly in place. If I was taller, I may have been able to pluck them from the sky. Among these birds, there was a gorgeous great blue heron that decided I should have to walk around it. This was my first time seeing a blue heron on a beach. In VA, I saw them constantly around wetlands and lakes, but not on the beach. The high winds had grounded it, so it strolled along the surf zone.
I was able to take a few pictures of the heron as it watched me walk around it. Eventually, it grew tired of my probing photographs and left the beach. It had the strength to lift off from the beach, flying close to the berm, and catching the updraft to gain altitude. It eventually perched on the dunes, surveying the restless sea.
With my model gone, I kept walking on. I didn’t realize how good the pictures were until I returned home and uploaded the photos. By this time, I had cleaned my glasses and the great blue heron’s vibrant plumage finally came into focus for me as well.