This is a true story.
Early this morning I walked the trail along the western shore of the Ashuelot River, heading away from the dam towards a spot that has a view of the area where the river divides. The spot was lit by the early morning sun, and I said aloud to the universe, “This spot is really beautiful and the light is perfect. All I need now is a heron to land on it.”
Shortly after those words left my mouth, I heard a strange sound coming from my right across the river. I could not place it — it sounded like a duck, but also like a crow. A few minutes passed, and then I saw it — a young great blue heron flying low over the river, heading towards that beautifully lit spot.
Seeing the spot, the heron began to pull its chest up, throwing its legs forward and dangling them toward the shore. The heron landed in the exact spot that I had hoped for, and began a long course of preening.
Having finished preening, the great blue heron lifted its right leg up towards its body, shifting all of its weight onto its left leg. With the warmth of the early morning sun hitting its chest, the heron eventually closed its eyes for an early morning nap.
Credit for the sequence of photos below goes to a gentleman named George that I met this morning, who kindly pointed out the flying heron behind me while we were chatting on the other side of the dam. Fortunately, I had enough of time to focus on the heron and track him as he flew towards the footbridge that crosses the Ashuelot River. Luckily, my camera was perfectly setup to track this kind of movement, and most of the shots were in focus.
The planets aligned for me this morning. I had the right combination of good light, scenery, mist, and a camera configured to capture a large bird in flight as a great blue heron sprung into the air from one of the flat rocks at the base of the Ashuelot River dam in Keene. After firing a burst of perfectly focused shots (a first for me) I managed to capture the photo that I have been visualizing since I began my early morning visits to the dam over a week ago. It literally took the patience of a great blue heron to achieve this, and I learned so much about myself and this magnificent heron in doing so.