In the many weeks I have been watching both the Great Blue Heron and Red-tailed Hawk nests via Cornell’s live web cams (maintained and provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) I have also learned how to capture images from the live streaming to save for reference for my paintings and collages. Having collected these photos from the hawk nest I hope to translate them into some form of art. My last post featured a rather realistic watercolor illustration of the Heron family.
Hoping to experiment a bit more, I returned to my files on the Herons looking for inspiration and stumbled upon a photo that makes me smile every time I see it. Since the Heron chicks are growing so much and the camera is quite close to the center of the nest, group shots of the entire family are becoming less frequent. To my delight, I was able to get a screen shot of all five chicks and one parent standing in the nest. Some of their bodies are visible, but the majority of the image focuses on their somewhat comical legs and feet. Heron legs are long and thin with a bulge at what I guess is a joint. This leg line-up reminded me of a chorus line or the high kicking Rockettes. Making some color, brightness and saturation changes allowed me to manipulate the image in many different combinations. The three that I found most desirable will for now stand alone. Future collages or paintings may also evolve, but I couldn’t resist sharing the results as is. I also decided that since I was benefiting from the great work of the Lab as both a bird watcher and an artist, it was only fitting that I support them with a donation. Hopefully support from the viewing public will enable future web cams to continue.