Archive for the 'action' Category


11/18/2010: Snow Storm (goose)

From Texas to New Mexico: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Snow Geese. Sunset. A storm of wings against the blush of sky. I still have lots of birds from Texas left to share, but I can’t resist this from the first day at Bosque. Not that everyone who ever visited a Snow Goose wintering ground doesn’t have one just like it…but still. (I seem to remember a Steve Creek shot from a few months ago.)

Canon SX20IS. 560mm equivalent @ 1/125 @ ISO 800. Programed auto.

Fill Light in Lightroom. Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And the real storm, complete with sound effects.

11/3/2010: Goldfinch for Wings on Wednesday

Yellow-rumped Warblers were not the only birds to take advantage of Cape May’s smorgasbord on Friday and Saturday. Goldfinches were wherever there were sunflower or thistle heads left standing. Again, they were so busy stoking the migration machine that they allowed unusually close approach. A digiscopers dream. Catching the feeding action, on the other hand, was difficult, especially that “hanging upside down off the flower head” thing they do. It just does not impress as much in a still image. Once more, late afternoon/early evening sun picked out the details of the plumage and warmed the shots.

So, of course, I slid the little switch over to video and shot the action in HD. See below.

Stills are Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for equivalent fields of veiw of 1) 2500mm and 2) 1200mm. 1) ISO 400 @ 1/1000th @ f6.7 (scope limited), 2) ISO 125 @ 1/400th @ f4 (camera limited).

Blackpoint, Clarity, sharpened, and color adjusted in Lightroom.

Video is a few clips from the SD4000IS edited together.

Female Goldfinch Feeding!

10/27/2010: Sanderlings, Wings on Wednesday

Sanderlings, plain as they are in winter plumage, are interesting birds to watch as they dance along the edge of the surf feeding…constantly feeding…constantly moving. Difficult to photograph though, and especially difficult to digiscope. These shots are along the South Beach at Jekyll Island GA, just off the St. Andrews Picnic Grounds, where the fisherman work with their hand nets at the right tide, and the dolphins play and feed at almost any tide. Same with Sanderlings. At least in October.

Canon SD4000IS behind the new Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. The top two shots are at about 2000mm equivalent field of view, and the bottom shot, where the bird was closer, was at about 1000mm. All at ISO 125 and 1/1000th sec. with the f-stop around f5-f6. The rig was running right along the line where some exposures were scope limited and some were camera limited.

Blackpoint right in Lighroom, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

Even at 1/1000th of a second, these guys are hard to hold still.


9/8/2010: Earl passes by, Kennebunk ME

Hurricane Earl passed Kennebunk well off-shore during the night last Friday, or Saturday morning rather…and may in fact have been downgraded to a tropical storm by then anyway. Certainly the only sign we had of it was rain, a stiffish breeze on Saturday AM, and some uncommonly big waves along our beaches…and, of course, some amazing skies. This is from Narragansett point, which separates Middle (or Stony) Beach from Gouches (or Big) beach.

With the sun and warm weather, more like August than September, Earl provided a excellent day for our local, and long suffering, surfers. Surfing in Kennebunk means wetsuits, waves that rarely deserve the name, shorts runs and long swims. Earl provided a rare treat.

I tried some HDR for the skies, which you will see more of in the coming days, but these are straight shots. One of the first things I learned about both panoramic and HDRs is not to try to include anything that moves as fast as surf Smile

Canon SX20IS 1) 28mm equivalent @ f4.0 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. Landscape program. 2) 128mm equivalent @ f4.5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Adjusted for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpening in Lightroom.

From Earl Passes By: Kennebunk ME.



Swallows Anyone?

I visited Plum Island at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge last Saturday, and though the digiscoping was not great (birds too far away mostly), the Tree Swallow’s were impressive. I am told that the 100,000 or more swallows I saw there were only a tiny fraction of will be on the refuge in a few weeks. I can not imagine. These are fast moving birds. 1/1000 second was not fast enough to freeze all motion.

Canon SD4000IS behind the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for an equivalent field of view of about a 1700 mm lens on a full frame DSLR. 1/1000th @ ISO 320. Effective f4.5.

Blackpoint considerably right in Lightroom. Auto Color Balance. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Digiscoped New Diascope 65FL
And of course, of this I had to have video.



Chipmunk Makes  a Meal

Happy Sunday!

I first saw this little guy when I was already too close…for his comfort that is…just the right distance for digiscoping. He sat pretty much frozen in place while I shot way too many exposures. The light was not good. The camera was working at ISO 800. Eventually, though, he relaxed enough to get on with his business despite me. He had apparently been about to dine when I stumbled on him, and he made a meal of whatever small berry or seed he had found. Even at ISO 800 the shutter speed was a bit slow to catch him in motion as he ate. I took a lot of exposures! If you have a moment, watch the video below…it captures the full effect.

It is moments like this that keep me digiscoping. No other camera system would allow such intimacy without the use of a blind and many hours in the field…a lot more planning and preparation than life currently allows me. With my digiscoping rig, though the animal has to be cooperative enough to wait for me to get set up…tripod down, camera swung out so I can focus, camera swung back in and turned on…before I can take my first shot, I am able, quite often, to capture these walk up, unplanned encounters. That is what I like about it.

You do have to open and receptive…no that is not putting it strongly enough. You have to be actively looking for opportunities for intimacy and well practiced in your chosen method of capturing them, so that you don’t miss too many when you do walk up on them.

And there is of course, being Sunday, a spiritual lesson there too. After all, my moments of intimacy are not with the creature alone. Someday I hope to well practiced enough in methods of love to capture every possible moment of intimacy when I walk up on them…as I am sure I do unthinking, a thousand times a day.

How much harder than digiscoping could that be Smile?

Canon SD4000IS behind the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of a 2600mm lens on a full frame DSLR @ 1/40th sec @ ISO 800. Effective f-stop, f7.

Fill Light in Lightroom and Blackpoint pretty far right. Auto White Balance. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And now the video.

Chipper Makes a Meal


Chipper on a Post

This was one noisy Chipmunk. Just proving the accuracy of its name.

Canon SD1400IS through the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 85FL for an equivalent focal length of about 1500mm, f4.5 @ 1/125 @ ISO 320. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, a touch of Fill Light, added Clarity and Vibrance, Blackpoint right, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And, I have video too.

Chipper chipmunk doing it chippy thing!


Yearling among Flowers

This looks to me to be a late season fawn from last year. It was feeding with two adult female Whitetails, one of which was obviously pregnant.

There is a story behind the images. I was 90 minutes early for a bird walk I was coleading last Saturday at the Acadia Birding Festival in Acadia National Park (misread the schedule), so I shouldered my digiscoping rig and was hiking along the shoulder of the road between the Seawall proper and the Seawall Campground entrance, looking for cooperative birds. A huge, industrial scale, white dump truck approached at speed, and hit is hydraulic breaks hard just as it came parallel with me. It literally skidded to a stop about 100 feet beyond me, and this huge hairy arm dropped from the driver’s window, up there 10 feet in the air in the cab, and snapped its fingers. I could see the driver looking at me in his rear view mirror. He was a dump truck driver: sleeveless tee, a bit tattered and smudged, beard and a fringe of longish hair around a bald plate. Big as his truck and just as tough. He snapped his fingers again, and, getting impatient, jammed his truck into reverse and started back. I hustled over.

“Hay,” he said, “There’s deer in the field about 200 yards down the road on the left, right out in the open. Great shot!” And he grinned and nodded. “Well thank you,” I said, and he jammed into first and rumbled on.

Humm? Deer? Whitetails would be nice, but, honestly, what were chances of 1) their still being visible when I got there, and 2) their not running off as soon as they saw me?

Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I hurried down the road, trying to remember where the first open meadow was, and wondering if I would be able to see the same deer from road level he could see from 10 feet up in his cab? Turned out to be closer to 400 yards, but eventually I came up to an obvious meadow opening on the left. I could not see any deer from the angle I had. I crossed the road and edged up to the last blocking shrub and peaked around into the meadow.

And, of course, as you can guess from the images above, there they were: the two adults and this obvious yearling, the two adults together and this guy ranging ahead of them further into the back of the meadow.

So, down tripod, up scope, focus, camera in, camera on, zoom to eliminate vignetting and take the first shot. (Not one of the ones above 🙂 ) I was able to work the three deer for 20-30 minutes, taking hundreds of exposures. The light was great: gentle under light cloud cover. When I had enough to think I might have some keepers (my rule is 10 exposures for every keeper you hope for) I backed away and left them to their feeding. When I passed in the car 30 minutes later they were gone.

So, I want, right here, to thank that dump truck driver for the extraordinary kindness of stopping his rig to tell me about the deer he had just seen. I never would have known. 

Canon SD1400IS behind the zoom eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 65FL for an equivalent focal length of about 2200mm (first two) and 3400mm (last one). Exif  f5.9 @ 1/200th @ ISO 160 and 200. Real f-stop closer to f12 (based on the scope).

In Lightroom 3, Fill Light and Blackpoint considerably right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen Narrow Edges preset. Auto White-balance to remove yellow cast.

And, once more time. Thank you.



Song Sparrow on a Post

Happy Sunday!

Brought to you through the magic of digiscoping. Nothing like it. I was 30 feet or more from this little guy. This is about as close to a bird-in-the-hand view as you can get. On my laptop monitor he is close to life size right here, and I could view him at several times life-size.

Canon SD1400IS Digital Elph behind the eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascoope 65FL. Equivalent focal length about 3500mm. Exif f5.0 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Programmmed auto. Computed f-stop based on the scope/camera combination: f9.6.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the sky, a touch of Fill Light to compensate for Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

I zoomed back to get the full bird in full song. This one is at about 1800mm equivalent. Note that the bird has its nictitating membrane over the eye.

And here is the video, along with a curious passerby.



Little Red

I was walking up a trail at Laudholm Farm with my digiscoping rig over my shoulder, making one last loop around before heading home, when this Red Squirrel hopped across in front of me, picked up something from the ground, and sat up to eat it. He was no more than 20 feet in front of me. Nice! I don’t see that often. Generally Reds are up a tree chattering at me, around on the backside of the trunk or limb, or scampering away so fast there is no hope for a picture, and it would be tail-shot at that. So I watched it as it calmly searched, found another whatever, sat up and ate it…and another….and another. I knew that as soon as I moved it would be off up the tree and gone. I kept thinking of pulling the scope down off my shoulder and trying for it…but, nah, it would be an effort in frustration, right? So, about the third time I found myself talking myself out of it, I finally thought, “oh, why not?”. I did not make any real effort at stealth. I mean I was 20 feet from the critter, standing in plain sight, right in the middle of eight feet of open trail. I just pulled the scope down, spread the tripod legs, got the camera out of the way, focused, swung the camera back in, turned it on, set the zoom…and, as you can see, the squirrel was, contrary to any reasonable expectation, still sitting there, eating its whatever. Click.

For the next 10 minutes I took a lot of different images of this squirrel.  It was like a studio shoot, with a paid (well, captive and trained) model. Turn to your right. Now turn back. That’s good. Hold that. A lot like that anyway. If I didn’t like the pose, I just had to wait a moment and the squirrel would find something more to eat and strike another one.

The light was not great, open shade, fairly deep, and I knew I was pushing the limits of shutter speed, so I took a lot of pictures, hoping at least a few would be sharp. A few were…

Which just goes to show: sometimes it is worth trying!

Canon SD1400IS behind the eyepiece of a Zeiss Diascope 65FL. Equivalent focal length about 1500mm-2000mm. At f4-4.5 @ 1/125-1/200 @ ISO 320 (top two) and 400.

In Lightroom, a bit of Fill Light and Blackpoint right. Added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Digiscoped Around Home.