Archive for the 'Georgia' Category

27
Oct
10

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.

13
Oct
10

10/13/2010: Anhinga doing its wings

For Wings on Wednesday…some real wings. The Anhinga is so much more attractive than its cousin the Cormorant. This lady was in relatively deep shade just at sunset. The mosquitos were coming out, and I was about to leave the rookery pond in the golf course on Jekyll Island, Georgia, after a session with the Wood Storks and Egrets, but I could not resist. The bird was pumping both wings and tail, and moving its head rapidly from side to side, and in the dim light I only managed a couple of shots that caught the bird still enough to show full detail. It was an excellent example of a situation where the HD video capability of today’s compact cameras comes into its own. See the video below. (And it does, by the way, demonstrate the photographic challenge pretty well too!)

Canon SD4000IS behind the eyepiece of the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the approximate equivalent field of view of a 1400mm lens on a full frame DSLR. Camera limited aperture of f4 @ 1/50th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

A touch of Fill Light and Blackpoint slightly right in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

And here is the video. One thing about video is that you can shoot in much lower light levels and get good results than with still.

Anhinga drying wings…Jekyll Island, GA
12
Oct
10

10/12/2010: Blue jay!

The Blue Jay is certainly a striking bird, one that probably does not get the credit it deserves because it is so common, and often so annoying around feeders. These shots were taken at the Clam Creek Campground Bird Sanctuary on Jekyll Island, Georgia. As I have mentioned before, the sanctuary is a single campsite set aside, with feeders and water features, and some flowers to attract hummingbirds. It is a great spot to see all the resident Jekyll Island species and almost any thing that might be migrating through. It is deep under cover, and the light is tricky at best. For photography, high ISOs are required, and even at that shutter speeds will be slow…so slow that burst mode and taking lots of exposures is the only way to get a decent shot.

These images are digiscoped…taken through the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope with a Canon Powershot SD4000IS Digital Elph, a pocked sized camera. I was using both the zoom on the scope and the camera zoom for framing, so equivalent focal lengths are hard to track, but the top shot is probably about 2000mm equivalent, while the full body view is about 30000mm equivalent (the bird was further away) and the Napoleonic pose is about 4000mm. All are ISO 800 at between 1/20th and 1/30th second. (Until this current generation of pocket digital cameras this kind of high ISO performance, especially coupled with relatively fast frame rates in burst mode, was simply unheard of. The Canon SD4000IS has a fast, clean, back illuminated CMOS sensor. With in-camera noise reduction clearly working, it still managed at least 2 frames per second of its normal 4fps. I am impressed!)

But of course it is still really about this stunning and highly expressive, bird. Lots of personality in a striking package…that’s the Blue Jay.

08
Oct
10

10/8/2010: reflections on snowy egret

People kept telling me about this pond on the gulf course on Jekyll Island where the birds, egrets, herons, and Wood Storks, were roosting for the night, and, after a couple of aborted attempts, I actually found it just before sunset yesterday. Quite a show! Roosting birds and birds flying in for the night…constantly something going on. These Snowy Egrets were there when I got there, part of a group of 15 birds, including immature White Ibis and an Anhinga, on a snag in the water out maybe 70 feet and at the foot of the bank where I was standing, maybe 20 feet above them, still in bright light but just below where the setting sun was striking the trees across the pond. Ideal! I spent 20 minutes with the group.

I was shooting the pair in the second image when my scope drifted down and caught the reflections. I could not resist.

Both shots with the Canon Powershot SD4000IS Digital Elph behind the new Vario eyepiece of the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope for an equivalent field of view in the 3500mm range. Programmed auto. –1.6 EV exposure compensation.

Processed in Lightroom for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen.

Lots more digiscoped birds in my Jekyll Island 2010 gallery.

06
Oct
10

10/6/2010: Jekyll island sunset

I still have lots of pics to share from my trip to Machias and Acadia National Park, and you will see some of them, but I can’t resist moving to Georgia today, since I am physically here on Jekyll Island this morning. Jekyll Island is a strange, beautiful place. You can read all about it on the Jekyll Island wiki page, or get the official version at jekyllisland.com.

I went out last evening particularly to catch the sunset, but only got to the east side of the island before the lure of the reflected light on the clouds and the downed trees I knew littered the beach drew me to the side of the road and down a trail. I was not disappointed.

This is an HDR using 3 autobracketed shots from the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, with the center of the range moved down 2/3s EV using exposure compensation. Normally I avoid HDR where there are waves along a shoreline (or any other moving subject), but with this particular kind of surf, a 3 shot HDR is possible, since the inevitable blurring of the moving water produces a interesting and attractive rendering.  The exposures were blended in Photomatix, and then the result was processed with Recovery, Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpening in Lightroom. Color balance was also adjusted using the auto tool.

And here are two more shots from the same location, taken a few moments earlier. These are also HDRs, processed as above. the first is cropped for a more panoramic look.

17
Oct
09

10/17/2009

Amazing Grace Trailing Her Nets

Amazing Grace Trailing Her Nets

Most of the shrimpers off Jekyll Island GA are nothing much to look at: working boats, well worked, and looking every bit of it. The Amazing Grace is amazingly well kept, and a bit more elegant in her lines. Quite a site here as she trails her nets off the beach at the center of Jekyll Island.

There were huge (well, at least very large) signs here saying “keep off the dunes” so I was limited to standing on the porch of the convention center (about 3 feet off the sand), flipping the LCD on the H50 over and down, and holding the camera at arms reach over my head to get enough height for this shot over the dunes.

Sony H50 at about 180mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/800th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Cropped in Lightroom to place the horizon on the lower rule of thirds line. Blackpoint slightly to the right. Added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen landscape preset.

From Colonial Coast 09.

16
Oct
09

10/16/2009

Jekyll Island Driftwood and St. Simons Light

Jekyll Island Driftwood and St. Simons Light

I take a few shots of the driftwood on the north end of Jekyll Island every year. Due, by some theories, to global warming, the sea is rising and slowly the beach is cutting back further and further into the forest. More trees fall every year. There are always new shapes to photograph by October when I visit. Often, as here, I find a formation to frame the light house on St. Simons Island across the channel.

Sony DSC H50 at 31mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/800th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

A bit of Recovery in Lightroom for the highlights on the bleached wood. Added Clarity and Vibrance in the Presence panel. Sharpen landscapes preset. Cropped slightly from the top for composition.

From Colonial Coast 09.

12
Oct
09

10/12/2009

Angel Unaware
Angel Unaware
Young Demons
Young Demons

Even though it is, without a doubt, an unjust and inaccurate stereotype combined with some distorted form of anthropomorphism, I could not resist the juxtaposition of these two images from the Disiscoping workshop we did yesterday morning.  The first is a Great Egret, preening. The wing, of course, suggests an angel, but the sparkley blue water background does its part too. The second is two Immature Turkey Vultures and a Black Vulture (top with wings spread), very likely cooling and drying in the early sun.

Neither was an easy shot. The light was behind the egret and strongly to the side of the vultures. I used some Exposure Compensation on the Egret (+1EV) to lighten the body of the bird. Center weighted exposure was all that was needed for the vultures. The vultures stood still enough, holding this pose for several moments while I took a number of exposures. The egret, on the other hand, was actively preening and I had only one chance at this wing stretch (as we call this pose in digiscoping circles…because of the challenge of catching it, the wing stretch is kind of a trophy image for most digiscopers).

Both were taken with the Zeiss PhotoScope:  egret at about 1400mm equivalent and vultures at 1800mm, @ 1/1050th @ ISO 10o and 1/75th @ ISO 200. Both were taken at the widest aperture of the scope, which would have been approximately F4.7 and F5.6. Programed auto, with Exposure Compensation for the egret.

Both received Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpening adjustments in Lightroom. The egret was cropped from the right for composition.

From Colonial Coast 09.

11
Oct
09

10/11/2009

Youngens (Yellow-crowned Night Herons)

Youngens (Yellow-crowned Night Herons)

Happy Sunday!

Two young Yellow-crowned Night Herons among at least 50 sharing a roost on the pond behind the Jekyll Island amphitheater. I’ve never seen so many Yellow-crowned…I have, in fact, rarely seen so many herons of one kind anywhere.

I was shooting closer birds with the PhotoScope when I saw this pair and zoomed back for double portrait. I like the attitude these guys are displaying and attempted to frame the shot to convey some of the tension in their posture…which was in marked contrast to the rest of the brood, who were in various stages of lounge around the pond.

Zeiss PhotoScope at 1200mm equivalent. 1/35th second at ISO 200 and about f4.7. Programed auto.

In Lightroom I used mild Recovery for feather highlights, moved the blackpoint to the right just slightly, added Clarity and just a small amount of Vibrance, and used the Sharpen landscape preset.

From Colonial Coast 09.

10
Oct
09

10/10/2009

Northern Cardinal in the South

Northern Cardinal in the South

The Cardinals I have seen in Georgia have not seemed as red as the Cardinals I see in Maine, or in Arizona. This might reflect a real regional variation, or it might be because I only visit Georgia in October, or it might be my imagination. At any rate, this is one of several specimens visiting a feeding station at the Jekyll Island Campground on Jekyll Island Georgia. It was taken in very low light under a solid canopy of heavy foliage, with the new Zeiss PhotoScope (a 15-45x wide-field spotting scope with a sophisticated, fully integrated, 7 mp digital camera…operating as 600 f4 to 1800 f5.6 equivalent telephoto).  In this light I set the ISO to 200 and, even so, was only getting shutter speeds in 1/10th to 1/4 second range. In order to get shots where the motion of the bird did not destroy the image I set the camera on series capture, which takes a burst of 5 shots in very rapid sequence with a single push of the shutter release. I should also say that the PhotoScope has a wireless remote, so when you press the shutter release there is no camera motion, and that it has Auto Focus Assist, that adjusts fine focus as you shoot. All of this advanced tech allowed me to get some very satisfying images in a situation that was, at best, marginal for any kind of photography.

This shot was taken at about 1800mm equivalent at 1/4 second @ ISO 200. The aperture would have been about f5.6.

In Lightroom I moved the blackpoint slightly right, added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance in the Presence panel, and used the Sharpen landscape preset. I also adjusted the white balance slightly, as the Auto Clouds setting I used on the PhotoScope had it just a bit too warm.

From Colonial Coast 09.