Archive for the 'video' Category


1/2/2011: GBH on a palm, viera Wetlands

I could not resist this Great Blue Heron on the palm top, among the fronds of neighboring palms…even though I knew it would be a soft image at best…the wind was blowing so hard and the magnification needed to fill the frame was so high that despite my best efforts there was going to be some softening due to camera motion. It was just such a classic composition. You can see what I was dealing with in the video below. I had to put the video through the heaviest level of image stabilization in Sony Vegas at that.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of a 4700mm lens, 1/1000th sec. @ ISO 125. Effective aperture f13.

Here it is pulled back to about a 3000mm equivalent.

And here is the video. I left the sound in, just for effect. 🙂

GBH on a Palm and in the Wind.

12/8/2010: Sandhills in Flight (Wings on Wednesday)

Okay, I know I said I was done with Sandhill Cranes last week…and I did break the series, but to be honest I have a lot more Sandhill pics from my trip to Bosque del Apache. And…since it is wings on Wednesday, and a I have little video to share, I could not resist. Forgive me. 🙂

The shot is not perfectly framed but I love the light on the wings! It was late afternoon in the last moments before the sun touched the horizon.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent. F5.7 @ 1/640th @ ISO 640. Sports mode.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity and clarity.

And now the video. Also SX20IS work.

Sandhill Cranes in Flight: Bosque del Apache NWR, November 2010

12/6/2010: Prairie Dogs (Mammals on Monday)

In what has to be one of the oddest instances, Bosque del Apache spent some Our Recovery Dollars at Work building a Prairie Dog town…or maybe the PDs moved in by themselves, but Bosque certainly added some improvements and built a nice little access point and parking lot for visitors.

I have to admit, if you know nothing about PDs, they are cute. Sort of the North American equivalent of Meerkats, only without the movie and the TV show. (They just need an agent!)

The last photo here is the first taken, on a morning visit to the town…but as you can see, the morning light comes in from behind, making photography somewhat difficult. I went back in the afternoon for the shots above, but by afternoon most days the wind is well up, and it fairly sings through the tripod legs. I had to stand between the wind and my rig, to keep the scope from blowing over.

Canon SD4000IS behind the new 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. All were out there in the 2500 to 3000mm equivalent range. The top two are are at 1/1000th at ISO 250, and the bottom one is at 1/640 at ISO 125. I think I had the camera set to Kids and Pets for the top two, which explains the higher shutter speed and ISO.

Processed for intensity in Lightroom. Actually, the last shot required more substantial processing, with a mix of heavy Recovery and Fill Light.

And here is a little video. This was so bouncy and shaky with the wind that I have to pull out the heavy guns here too, and use Vegas Studio to stabilize the video before it was watchable. You can still see a lot of wind shake. The sound track, which I have muted, was nothing but a steady wind roar.

Prairie Dog Town

12/5/2010: Bosque Sunrise!

Happy Sunday!

It is absolutely essential, on every trip to the Festival of the Cranes at  Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, to get out at least one morning for the dawn fly-out. For one thing November dawns under the mountains along the Rio Grande in New Mexico are spectacular, and for another, the spectacle of the geese rising in streams and leaving the ponds where they spend the night can be breath-taking, awe inspiring, thrilling. It makes the alarm clock and being out before breakfast worth it. It makes  numb fingers and icy feet worth it. It makes, dare I say, life worth it.

It can be, for many people, a true life-changing experience…and opening of the eyes to unsuspected beauty and unexpected possibility…which fundamentally changes the way we see the world.

You can spot the first-timers by the light in their eyes, by the grins, by the voluble and visible delight as they troop back to cars and heaters and cooling coffee. But at least half the crowd (and we are talking several hundred, sometimes 500 or more,  people gathered each dawn during the festival) are returnees…people who by their manner have seen this all before, and have come back one more time to feed something in their souls that responds in the Bosque dawn. Many of these folks, like me, have been coming to Bosque in November for 20 years or more, and still we are out at least one morning before sunup to catch the fly-out and the dawn. It is essential to our souls.

Church should only be so good!

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent, f5.7 @ 1/640 @ ISO 160.

Processed in Lightroom.

And here is the video.

Bosque Dawn

11/30/2010: Sanhills 1

Part of the attraction of Bosque del Apache NWR is the spectacle factor…14,000-20,000 Sandhill Cranes as they mass around the refuge, early and late, are simply impressive. They are big, noisy birds. When you see several thousand of them in field below the mountians in the clear warm light of New Mexico’s autumn, it is, well, worth seeing. Unfortunately, even video does not quite capture that aspect of Bosque. Photographs and video are good enough to make you, maybe, want to visit Bosque…but they will not prepare you for the experience of being there! Which is a good thing.

Canon SX20IS at 1) 140mm equivalent @ f4.5 @ 1/800th @ ISO 80, Landscape program and 2) 560mm equivalent @ f5.7 @ 1/640 @ ISO 100. Landscape program.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity (see the page link above).

And a bit of video.

Sanhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache

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.

11/8/2010: okay wigeons

You can burn a lot of digital storage space trying to digiscope feeding ducks. Even with a good burst mode…especially with a good burst mode. These American Wigeon in Cape May Point State Park in NJ are typical. Never still. Never with their heads out of the water for more than a second at a time. If you pixel peep this shot you will see that eye-light is a line, not a dot…which means that the bird’s head moved while the image was captured.

To complicate matters I was shooting off a wooden platform out over the water, which vibrated whenever anyone moved for about 50 yards either side on the boardwalk. Not ideal. Still, they are wigeons…okay wigeons.

Canon SD4000IS behind the eyepiece of the ZEISS DiaScope 65 FL for the field of view of about a 2500mm lens on a full frame DSLR. Scope limited to f7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 125.

Added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset in Lightroom.

And, of course, when the birds will not sit still, you can always switch to video.

American Wigeon, Cape May NJ

11/5/2010: woodcock on the lawn

I have only ever seen three Woodcocks in my life. The first was just as it was getting too dark to see, in the light of a flashlight in our backyard in Kennebunk during migration. The dog alerted us to that one, and I had to investigate the strange sound it (something) was making out there.

The second was along side the road near Parson’s Beach, about 2 miles from home, in broad daylight, early in the spring. That bird was, after we passed on to the beach, and before we drove back home, hit by a car (we found the remains 😦 ). I have video of him doing his dance…though not so hot as it was taken through the windshield of the car.

The third was a week ago today, on a little patch of grass between the car port of a hotel and the house next door, across the road from the beach in downtown Cape May. A few birders found it as they walked by, and since they were visible from the windows of the room at the Grand Hotel where I was working the ZEISS booth, eventually, as more birder’s gathered, Clay Taylor (Swarovski) and I went out with our digiscoping rigs to photograph what turned out to be this exhausted Woodcock. Chris Woods, who works for eBird (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) was one of the birders there and he knows much of what there is to know about Woodcocks (well, about almost any bird). He and Clay were speculating on how far out to sea the Woodcock had been blown before fighting its way back to land, and barely 100 yards in, before crashing on that little patch of grass. It was huddled up against the base of a porch, perhaps trying to keep out of the wind, which was still blowing strongly.

Clay and I eventually worked our way around through empty stalls in the car port to where we could get some shots at a decent angle. The light was not the best, but the opportunity was too good to miss. This shot was from 30 feet away (we did not want to disturb the bird) at something like the equivalent field of view of a 1600mm lens on a full frame DSLR. ISO 200 at 1/80th second and f5.0 (limited by the camera…by which I mean the f-stop of the actual lens/scope combination was f4.4 computed…and since the camera chose a f-stop of f5, the camera’s f5, which is smaller than f4.4, is the determining f-stop for exposure. But perhaps that is more than you wanted to know.). Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56X Vario on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. I happened to have the camera in wide mode (16/9 ratio, like HD video) when I took the image.

Sharpened and adjusted to add clarity and intensity in Lightroom.

Note the detain in the eye!

And, of course, since I was shooting with the SD4000IS, I had to do some real HD video…though motion was not what  this Woodcock was about, at least last Friday.

American Woodcock, Cape May NJ

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!

10/29/2010: bath Hawk

We were looking at a Merlin in the top of the pines across the entrance/exit loop by the  parking lot at Cape May Point State park, in front of the Hawk Watch, when one of the gents that was waiting in line for a look through my scope said, “Hay, look at that!”

That was an immature Red-tailed Hawk taking a bath in a fair sized puddle in the center of the loop, about 60 feet in front of us, right in line with the Merlin. So I swung the scope down, and the camera in. One wet hawk! In the image above he seems to be asking pretty plainly “Whach you lookin at?”

The hawk was, shall we say, busy, so I got to play with the zoom on both the camera and the scope and try several different framings, as well as some video.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. ISO 125, 1/320th and 1/640th.

Processed in Lightroom using a touch of Fill Light, some Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. Color adjusted by eye.

As you will see in the video, these shots were taken over a parking lot and a roadway, both in direct sun, and there was already a lot of heat shimmer in the air…which limits the resolution of the images.

Red-tailed Hawk Bathing