Archive for April, 2009

29
Apr
09

4/30/2009

Great Egret Display

Great Egret Display

Not an easy exposure. White bird in shadow against dark foliage. -1 EV exposure compensation for the feathers, but that leaves the scene dark and flat. Fill light in Lr, and some global added exposure. Vibrance for the green leaves and green breeding lores of the bird. Added Clarity for the feather detail.

Sony DSC N1 through the eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 85FL spotting scope. 1/160 @ ISO 64. F-stop determined by scope.

From St. Augustine FL.

Video:

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29
Apr
09

4/29/2009

Sculpted Shore

Sculpted Shore

Rare outcroppings of rock along the coast south of St. Augustine FL. Even Florida’s minimal tide has sculpted the rock over the ages into all kinds of interesting shapes. That and the green and blue sea make for an interesting scene.

I tipped the camera down sharply to emphasize the long stretch of beach, leaving just enough horizon to keep it real.

Sony DSC H50 at about 35mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/640 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

Minor processing in Lr. Added Clarity and Vibrance, Landscape sharpen preset.

From St. Augustine FL.

27
Apr
09

4/28/2009

Great Egret Preening in the Light

Great Egret Preening in the Light

St. Augustine Alligator Farm rookery again. Great Egret. I really like the translucence of the wing feathers.

Sony DSC N1 through the eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 85FL spotting scope. 1/640 @ ISO 64. Aperture determined by scope, in the F12 range. Programed Auto with -1 EV exposure compensation.

Minimal Lr processing. A touch of Recovery, added Clarity and Vibrance, and the Landscape sharpen preset.

From St. Augustine FL.

And for the video fans, the same bird.

27
Apr
09

4/27/2009

Wood Stork with Nesting Materials

Wood Stork with Nesting Materials

One of the joys (and frustrations) of working an active rookery is the number of flight shots you have an opportunity to catch (and the number you miss). While nest building and chick rearing is going on, there are birds constantly in the air, coming and going. Wood Storks, especially, are known for bringing back big sticks and whole branches of trees complete with foliage. Every photographer who has visited a stork rookery during nesting is duty bound to try to catch a stork with a small tree in its beak.

Of course the Storks do not have much on the Great Egrets, which are equally amazing flying in with nesting material, and have the added element of elegance.

These kinds of shots push my H50 to its absolute limits. I use the Sports mode, for its predictive focus, and continuous shooting, at about 5 frames per second, but it is not the equal of what an DSLR can do. Still, in a half hour of attempting flight shots with the H50 I got a couple of keepers. Would they have been better with a DSLR. Probably. We work with what we have with us.

Sony DSC H50 at full tel (465mm equivalent). F7.1 @ 1/2000 @ ISO 160. Sports Mode. -1 EV exposure compensation.

Some Recovery in Lr, added Clarity and Vibrance and Landscape sharpen preset.

From St. Augustine, FL.

Bonus…a Great Egret.

Great Egret

Great Egret

26
Apr
09

4/26/2009

The Layered Sea

The Layered Sea

White sands along the cost of Florida, especially on the gulf side, make for a glass green sea, an emerald sea as they say up along the panhandle. I don’t associate with the Atlantic coast, but here in North Florida they certainly do have a green sea. The white sand here is not so pure, being mixed with a brown crushed shells, but it seems to get the job done.

Washington Oaks beach is steep, with weed covered rock outcroppings under the water and up the beach, so the effect is especially complex, as in this shot of the surf line. It creates a pseudo-abstract design in color and texture.

Sony DSC H50 at about 45mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/800 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, only my basic Vibrance and Clarity adjustments in the Presence panel, and Landscape sharpen preset. Cropped slightly at the top to narrow the band of blue sky.

From St. Augustine, FL.

25
Apr
09

4/25/2009

Snowy Egret on the Prowl

Snowy Egret on the Prowl

Another from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. (See yesterday’s entry for a more complete description of the Farm.) At any given moment at this time of year you have birds that have already nested with chicks in the nest, birds on eggs, and birds still on the make. This Snowy Egret was still looking.

White bird, dark background. Always a dramatic shot. I used a bit of exposure compensation to keep the highlights in range. I especially like this shot because of the dappled light on the bird, though it made it more difficult to expose properly. If not for the extreme image scale of the digiscping rig, which fills the sensor with detail and seems to make the automation work at its best, a shot like this would be very difficult.

Sony DSC N1 through the eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 85FL spotting scope. I wish I had remembered to shut the auto date thingy off. I will photoshop it out when I have more time. 1/1000th @ ISO 64. Aperture determined by the scope.

Very minimal Lr processing. Sharpen, Vibrance, Clarity.

From St. Augustine FL.

24
Apr
09

4/24/2009

Snowy Egret with Chick

Snowy Egret with Chick

So ugly it is cute! Snowy Egret on the nest at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm rookery…a wild rookery within the grounds of the biological park. The SAAF is not you usual tourist trap. It is a well constructed and managed facility showcasing Alligators and their kin from all over the world, which just happens to have attracted a major rookery of wild birds. Wood Storks, Great and Snowy Egret, Tricolor and Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, and Ibis all nest in close quarters over the Jungle Boardwalk. We are talking maybe 400 pairs of birds in the space of a your average suburban house lot. Some nest so close to the boardwalk that you could reach out and touch them on the nest. It is a bird photographers dream, and, of course, it attracts 1000s of photographers every year. The Farm sells early morning and late evening passes just for Photographers so you can come early and stay late (for the best light).

This mother Egret was in the process of feeding your chicks. The nest was maybe 70 feet from me. This shot is digiscoped, photographed with a pocket sized Sony camera through the eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 85FL spotting scope at an equivalent focal length of something in the 3000mm range.

Sony DSC N1. 1/500 @ ISO 64. Scope determines the aperture, in the F12 range.

Very little processing in Lr. Slight sharpening, added Vibrance and Clarity (not really needed).

From St. Augustine FL.

And here, for you video fans is the full feeding sequence. Warning. Cute overload.