Archive for the 'Pic of the Day' Category



16
Feb
11

2/16/2011: Rosy spoons

I am, as you see, still working through the images, mostly digiscoped, from my visit to Florida’s Space Coast Birding and Nature Festival. On of the highlights of a trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in January is the Roseate Spoonbills coming into breeding plumage. Then again, the Spoonbills at MINWR always seem particularly bright…according to my sources, the color comes from the algae the crustaceans eat when the Spoonbill in turn eats them. There must be lots of that algae and those crustaceans at MINWR.

This is a classic breeding male with the green head, the black ring, and the bright red eye.

And here from a slightly different angle. The black ring at the back of the head is often hidden when the bird roosts. I am sure I have seen it before but never captured it as clearly as in these images.

Canon SD4000IS behind the eyepiece of the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope for the equivalent field of view of about a 2000mm lens. The bird was feeding actively and moved away some by the second shot. 1/640th @ ISO 125 and 1/800th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto. Approximately f5.5 effective aperture.

Processed for clarity and sharpness in Lightroom.

Over the next few days I will be featuring more Roseate Spoonbills from MINWR.

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15
Feb
11

2/15/2011: Red-shouldered Hawk (im)

It is often windy at Merritt Island NWR, and that can make digiscoping, with its particularly high effective magnifications, very difficult. This shot from late afternoon when the wind was well up, and the bird was 150 yards across a water channel, shows the effects. Being in tree that caught the wind and bounded around even more did not help. Even though the shutter speed was a 500th of a second, The shot is not critically sharp, and required extra processing for sharpness and clarity to approach acceptable. Still, it is a nice bird: an immature Red-shouldered hawk of the light Florida variety. 

Increasing magnification only makes matters worse:

In this shot you can see a clear indication of the problem in the eye-light: notice that it is a vertical line, not a dot. That means that the bird was in motion when the shutter opened…or in this case that the whole tree was in motion.

Still…it is a nice bird.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario Eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope. 1) 2700mm equivalent field of view, 1/500th @ ISO 125, 2) 4000mm equivalent field of view, 1/320th @ ISO 125.

My standard processing in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness, but then both were selectively sharpened, clarified, and contrast boosted around the head and eye using the selective brush tool. The whole image got Fill-light, Blackpoint adjustment, and Contrast boost…and then I backed off the Vibrance slightly to tame the yellow highlights. And still…it is a nice bird is about all I can say.

13
Feb
11

2/13/2011: Who Goes There

Happy Sunday!

Snow had fallen heavily the day before, but people had already cross-country skied and snow-showed the trails at Rachel Carson NWR, so, with care, a booted photographer could get back pretty far in the woods. These tracks must have been made just before the snow ended. Though I thought I was capturing the tracks, it turns out this is mostly about what the light is doing with the texture of the snow. A Black and White conversion brings that to the forefront.

Canon SX20IS at about 285mm equivalent field of view, f5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 80. Snow Mode.

Processed in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness. Converted to B&W using the Green filter effect.

And, being Sunday: Like the image itself, our spiritual journey is often more about what the light does with the snow than it is about the tracks we, or others, leave. And yet, without the tracks, what is there to draw another’s eye? We are much more likely to stop to see the light on the snow if someone has laid a track across it. That seems to be a part of what it means to be human. “Who goes there” is our first question. But it eventually leads to the realization that there is a there to go and a going…and that every step, to the eye of the spirit, is through textured light!

12
Feb
11

2/12/2011: Welcome back to ME

That is Maine in the title…and I am back from a week of business meetings in Virginia. Though this pic was taken a week ago, it still looks like this in Maine. The snow is a bit more compacted, but there is still plenty on the ground. That is 5 foot snow fence. I still have a number of digiscoped shots from Florida to share, but, for today, I am back in ME.

Canon SX20IS at about 45mm equivalent field of view, f4 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 80. Snow Mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom.

11
Feb
11

2/11/2011: Big and easy, GBH

A fellow wildlife photographer posted a Great Blue Heron on his Facebook page yesterday with a comment to the effect that “sometimes you have to take the easy shots.”

Always! Always you have to take the easy shots. I don’t believe in a vindictive fate, like “if you don’t shoot the easy shots when they are offered, then you won’t get anymore!”, but I do believe in embracing the gift when it is right there in front of you. It would be ungrateful to ignore such generosity.

So here is yet another Great Blue Heron shot. (And GBHs do figure in a surprising number of the gift shots…go figure 🙂 …big and easy bird that it is…always seemingly posing.) In this shot, of course, it is the light and reflections on the water behind the bird, and the play of light across the bird, the molding, and the light caught in the eye, as much as the bird itself, that holds interest…that makes the shot.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56 Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of about a 2800mm lens, 1/200th @ ISO 125, effective aperture of f7.5.

Processed for clarity and sharpness in Lightroom.

And the more pulled back, contextual bonus shot at something closer to 1000mm equivalent field of view.

10
Feb
11

2/10/2011: Still-life with malice

I know…it is totally unreasonable to attribute malice to the alligator simply because of the way he looks (and sometimes acts)…especially this big fellow (girl) peacefully sunning on a mangrove bank at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, but, honestly, how can we help ourselves? And surely the still-life part is obvious, or would be if you have ever seen an alligator sunning.

Canon SD4000IS at about 2000mm equivalent field of view, 1/320th @ ISO 125, effective aperture of f11. Programmed Auto. Processed in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness.

This is the context shot, taken with the my regular non-digiscoping camera at about 40mm equivalent from the same spot. From this angle you can see that this is only a medium sized gator, still with a lot of years of growing to do.

And finally the almost abstract close up view at something close to 4000mm equivalent field of view, with an emphasis on the eye.

09
Feb
11

2/9/2011: Wood Storks in repose

With my recent postings of digiscoped pics from my trip to Florida, Wings on Wednesday is not much of a stretch from me this week 🙂

I had never seen this behavior before, and when I came on these two Wood Storks at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge taking their ease on a mudflat, I could not resist a quick shot with the Canon SX20is out the window of the car. I still don’t know if it is common behavior. A quick run at google this morning did not answer the question. If anyone knows more about this, I would like to hear.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent field of view, f5.7 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom.