Photos With Nop and Dave: When Breakfast Bites Back

By | June 1, 2011
From Xplor: June/July 2011

To painters and photographers, a portrait is an image that depicts the face and upper body of a person or animal. Its purpose is to show what the critter in question looks like. Of course, this photo of a yellow-crowned night-heron satisfies the definition. But if you call it a portrait, photographer Noppadol Paothong might want a word with you.

“I try not to make just portraits,” Nop says. “I try to capture a glimpse of an animal’s life—where it lives, what it eats, how it survives.”

Despite its name, yellow-crowned night-herons are active day and night. Yet, that doesn’t make these shy little birds easy to find. Nop got lucky when he spotted one as it waded through a marsh beside the Mississippi River. He watched the heron plunge its head into the water and come up with a crayfish. While the bird battled the cranky crustacean, Nop bellycrawled through marsh muck to get close enough for a shot.

“I like how this shows a moment between predator and prey,” Nop says. “The crayfish has a pincer up, and he’s going to fight. But you know the heron’s going to eat him for breakfast.”

How’s that for a glimpse into the life of a shy bird?

See more cool photos at Yellow-crowned night-heron

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This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods