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:

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.

23
Apr
09

4/23/2009

Hibiscus (backlight)

Hibiscus (backlight)

I looked at this huge Hibiscus bush by my hotel in St. Augustine FL yesterday at least 25 times. This shot is late in the day, with the low sun backlighting the blooms. Taken in telephoto macro mode from about 12 feet away.

Sony DSC H50 at just over 400mm equivalent. F4.5 @ 1/400 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

Minimal processing in Lr. Just my usual Clarity and Vibrance, with Landscape sharpen preset. I moved the black point to the right a few degrees.

From St. Augustine FL.

22
Apr
09

4/22/2009

The Sands of Lindsfarne

The Sands of Lindsfarne

These are the sands you drive across to get out to Lindsfarne. There are signs everwhere saying not to attempt them when the tide is coming in, but ever year people do, and every year they get stranded and have to be lifted off the safty tower in the middle by helicopter. I have to say that driving across the sea bottom is an other-worldly experience…it is not just knowing that twice a day where you are standing is under many feet of water…there is just a feeling to it that has no thing to do with any rational knowing. I am certain it added to the reputation of holiness the island has always had.

As you see, the storms that were sweeping over the coast that day are momentarily elsewhere, though within sight.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide. F5.6 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

Relatively straightforward in Lr. I did use a graduated filter effect for the sky, and another for the foreground. Clarity and less than usual Vibrance (since the blue peeking out the sky was already almost too intense without any help from me). Landscape sharpen preset.

From Scotland.

And, while we are on the subject…

 

warning

warning

21
Apr
09

4/21/2009

Lindsfarne Castle

Lindsfarne Castle

Lindsfarne Island, the Holy Island, is accessible by road at low tide and several hours either side. The road runs across what amounts to the sandy bottom of the sea. The Island has been held sacred for centuries. I suspect it already had a reputation for spirituality when the Celtic monks arrived during the dark ages and turned it into one of the few seats of learning left in the western world.

It was the trump card of our trip to Scotland, though it is well south of the Scottish border and only by a generous detour on the way home to Manchester from Aberdeen. My guide and driver in this adventure kept hinting that there was to be one final treat, the one place he would not tell me about in advance. It is that special.

Of course we had no more than gotten out of the car when it began to pour rain. Not just a mist like the one that plagued us at Donnattor, but a real find shelter British downpour. We tried to keep dry under the trees of the graveyard around the abby buildings, and ended up pretty wet in the church, along with the rest of the tourists visiting that day. When we ventured out, it was still threatening, so this is as close to the Castle as we got.

A difficult shot, due to the light sky behind, and the mist in the air, but then that seems pretty typical of photographic conditions in England.

Sony DSC H50 at about 100mm equivalent (to frame the castle behind the sheep). F5.0 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

This shot responded amazingly well to the graduated filter effect in Lr. Even using heavy Recovery, I could not get any blue out the sky, but as soon as I applied a graduated filter effect and cranked down the exposure in the top part of the image, the sky detail popped right out. Another graduated filter effect from the bottom to lighten and increase contrast, though I had to go gently as the sheep would not stand much of either. I also used the adjustment brush to increase the brightness and contrast of the castle itself, to counter somewhat the effects of the mist in the air. Normal Vibrance and Clarity settings. Landscape sharpen preset. A touch of noise reduction for the sky.

From Scotland.