Archive for January, 2010




A Wing and a Prayer

Happy Sunday!

White Great Egrets in the early morning light standing against dark shadows on the water, and the raised wing creates a harmony of shapes…light and shadow…that catches and holds the eye. If you view this at xxl or O on Wide Eyed In Wonder you will see that the foreground bird is not critically sharp but it is still a striking image, and one I can not go back and try to better. An instant in time when everything coheres. It won’t happen just like this again.

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at about 1500mm. 1/800th sec. @ ISO 100. Metered at about f5.3. Programmed auto. –.7EV Exposure Compensation.

Some Recovery in Lightroom for the white highlights. A bit of Fill Light for the background (though adding too much brings up all kinds of color noise in the deep shadow). Added Clarity and Vibrance. Landscape sharpen preset to begin…then added Amount and increased Radius. Considerable noise reduction for the shadows, and a touch of Chromatic Aberration control for the color fringing in this very difficult lighting. Cropped slightly at the left for composition.

Again, not an image to blow up to 16×20, but still one I am happy to have caught. 

From Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL.

And here is a companion shot taken at a slightly shorter focal length.



Look Both Ways

This is one of those somewhat challenging images to look at. It breaks composition rules right and left. The Great Blue Heron should be facing into the frame, and really should not be obscuring parts of Great Egret behind…but I could not resist the opposing hunting stares…kind of like crossed swords. Technically the challenge is dept of field, of course, and the Zeiss PhotoScope has a fixed aperture (varies with the zoom setting, but you can’t set it). I had to take what I could get. I did carefully select the focus point…and the PhotoScope just managed enough depth to provide satisfying sharpness in both birds. Actually, for a long lens, that is pretty impressive!

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at about 1200mm equivalent field of view. 1/530 sec. @ ISO 100. Metered at about f5 (though the real aperture was about f3)

Added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. –20 Contrast. Desaturated the blue shadows on the Egret (sky reflection) using the selective saturation tool. Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped slightly from the top for composition.

From Space Coast Birding.



Great Blue on the Sky

Great Blue Herons are easy to photograph. They pose. Habitually. They take a stance and hold it for several seconds…sometimes for minutes. Their life is flows pose to pose. You just have to be there, point the camera, and click. Like any well trained model, they really do most of the work for you.

And they are really striking birds. Excellent plumage with lots of fine detail. That massive yellow beak. And those little head plumes. Attractive.

At Viera Wetlands they have dead, topless, palm trunks scattered through the impoundments. If you do more than a single loop of the dyke roads you will, without fail, find a GBH posing on top of one or more of them. Stark against the sky. Painted on. Point and click.

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at about 25x or about 1000mm equivalent field of view. 1/1000sec @ ISO 100. Metered at about f5.

Very little beyond basic added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. Sharpen Landscape preset.

From Zeiss Photoscope 85FL.

And two more views, just to prove the pose point.



Blue Winged Teal

Yes, that is green showing on the male, and was green, but these are Blue Winged Teal. Sitting ducks. Gotta love em. (Especially since you don’t get them all that often.) This is Viera Wetlands in Melbourne FL, without doubt one of the best spots for bird photography in America. A wide variety of birds use the “municipal wetlands”, which is PC speak for a modern sewage treatment plant…one that uses natural marsh vegetation for the final stage of water cleansing…and has been savvy enough to recognize that if they add a few amenities and do a good job of managing the wetlands for birds, they can have a tourist attraction of note…right at the sewage plant. And, as in this case, they can generally get extra funding to do it. The result is a multiple win. The city benefits. The environment benefits. Birds and wildlife benefit. Birders and wildlife watchers benefit. And certainly wildlife photographers of all kinds benefit. That is a lot of win for a single project.

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at about 1400mm equivalent. 1/210th @ ISO 100. Exposed at about f5.6.

A little Fill Light and Blackpoint just slightly right in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL.



Roseate Spoonbill: Merritt Island NWR

I have been out with the PhotoScope the past few days, at Viera Wetlands in Melbourne FL and at Merritt Island NWR in Titusville. This is breeding plumage Roseate Spoonbill (just coming into breeding). Late day light (almost sundown) really brings out the rose. 

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at about 1200mm equivalent field of view. 1/800th @ ISO 100. Approximately f5.2-5 exposure.

Added Clarity and Vibrance (very little) in Lightroom. Sharpen landscape preset.



More Reno Mountains

Another view of the mountains above Reno from the 8th floor of the Atlantis. Zoomed in for framing.

Sony DSC H50 at about 150mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/160th @ ISO100. Programmed auto.

Added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. Blackpoint right. Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped from the bottom for composition.

From the Reno gallery on



Reno Mountains

My suspicion is that Reno does not look this dramatic all the time. The snow on the mountains undoubtedly adds a dimension to the folded hills and mountains behind the cityscape. This is the view from an 8th floor window at the Atlantis Casino. Reno is impossible to photograph…or at lest the dramatic vistas with mountains, are impossible to photograph from street level since there are no unobstructed views…and, unlike Vegas which is continuous (and calculated) eyecandy, the architecture in Reno is, I am sorry, ugly. Oh, there are probably sticking buildings there somewhere, but certainly nothing I could reach on foot or see from the Atlantis. So…window shots.

Sanyo VPC CG10 at 38mm equivalent. F4.7 @ 1/450th @ ISO 50. Programmed auto. (The CG10 is an HD video camera with a 10 mega pixel CMOS senor, and can be set for 16/9 stills like this one at 7.5 mega pixels.)

Added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. Blackpoint right. Sharpen landscapes preset. Some Recovery for the clouds and a touch of Fill Light for the shadows. Cropped from the bottom to improve composition and eliminate distracting clutter.

From Reno.



Vegas Various

There is nowhere to equal the variety of architectural styles found in a short walk down the strip in Vegas. This jumble of shapes and continents, as above,  somehow manages to be eye-catchingly interesting, if not attractive. Here, set off by the gentle sun of a cold day in January, it has some life to it at least.

Sony DSC H50 at about 55mm for framing. F5.6 @ 1/800th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance in Lightroom. Sharpen landscapes preset. Exported to PhotoShop Elements 7 for some perspective and distortion correction in the Camera Distortion filter set.

From Las Vegas 2010.



Coins in the Waterfall

This is an impulse I have never understood. Pool, fountain, or in this case the head of the artificial waterfall at the Palizzo in Vegas. The moving water here adds what is perhaps an extra dimension.

Sony DSC H50 at about 55mm equivalent. F2.8 @ 1/60 @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Blackpoint right in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Las Vegas 2010.



Treasure Island Under Snowy Mountains

Another shot from an interesting dawn in Vegas.

Sony DSC H50 at 120mm equivalent. F3.5 @ 1/13th @ ISO 100. Programmed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom for the sky and snow. Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and Vibrance and Sharpen Landscape preset.

From Las Vegas 2010