Juggle Twice Swallow Once

This article, Juggle Twice Swallow Once… shares a selection of 16 images of a Great Blue Heron juggling, then swallowing, a fish it caught. This series of images was captured hand-held using the Pro Capture mode of my Olympus OM-D E-M1X.

The E-M1X allows for some customization when using the Pro Capture mode. I had my camera set to 60 frames-per-second, with 20 frames captured pre-shutter release and 30 frames post shutter release. We’ll have a look at the action in the Juggle Twice Swallow Once series beginning at Frame 14.  This first portion of the Pro Capture run will take us to Frame 21.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Frame 14, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 15, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 16, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 17, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 18, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 19, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 20, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 21, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres

When using the E-M1X’s Pro Capture mode in High, i.e. 60 frames-per-second, it is to be expected that some of the images will only show a tiny bit of subject movement. In the case of this Pro Capture run, the Great Blue Heron paused for a moment with the fish in its beak after catching it in mid-air the first time. I left these ‘heron pause’ frames out of this article.

Let’s rejoin the Juggle Twice Swallow Once action sequence at Frame 41.

Frame 41, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 42, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 43, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 44, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 45, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 46, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres
Frame 47, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, Pro Capture mode, subject distance 18.4 metres

After this point the fish quickly disappeared down the heron’s gullet.

Frame 49, Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/1600, ISO-1250, -0.7 step, subject distance 18.4 metres

A couple of other photographers were also capturing this same action sequence. As I heard their camera shutters clacking off frames, I knew that neither one of them had anywhere near the amount of detailed action sequencing that I was able to capture using the E-M1X’s Pro Capture mode.

Being able to capture action like this at 60 frames-per-second (including pre-shutter release frames) gives a photographer a leg up in terms of getting full resolution RAW files that many other folks miss.

If you’re interested in learning why renowned wildlife photographers like Andy Rouse, and Petr Bambousek are now using Olympus gear, you can use the links provided.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process, and are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping.

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6 thoughts on “Juggle Twice Swallow Once”

    1. Hi Oggie,
      This behaviour is very common, but happens so fast that we tend not to really notice it. This juggling happens so the birds can swallow a fish head first so it doesn’t get stuck in their throats.
      Tom

      1. Tom,

        You’re right! The action is usually really quick to follow (thanks to you, the sequence shows the action clearly)…
        To quote from Pennington.com:

        “Herons also lack the equipment to carry fish back to the nest to feed their young, so they swallow their catch and bring it back to the nest in their own stomach. They regurgitate the food onto the nest floor for their young to eat. Heron nestlings probably figure out that they should swallow fish headfirst when eating the fish their parents regurgitated. ”

        Oggie

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