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 www.xplormo.org/node/13972. Yellow-crowned night-heron
Nichole LeClair Terrill