Archive for the 'wildlife' Category



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.

08
Feb
11

2/8/2011: Green Heron in a Bush, Merritt Island NWR

This Green Heron is pretty regular (in my limited experience) in the pool by the restrooms at Merritt Island NWR. I have photographed a Green Heron in this spot several times, several different years…so either it, or another of its kind, frequents the pool and the water channel behind the pool on a predictable bases. I look for it now.

This bird was tucked back under a bush about 40 feet down the water channel from the road. I caught it as I turned the corner, only because I was looking for it, and parked and walked back. I really like the play of light under the mangrove foliage, especially behind the bird, and the way the sun catches in the yellow eye.

Canon SD4000IS at about 1800mm equivalent field of view, 1/400th @ ISO 160. Effective aperture, f5.

Processed lightly in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness.

And here is the shot zoomed in a bit, to about 4500mm equivalent field of view.

07
Feb
11

2/7/2011: Great Egret, intimate

Sometimes, at Merritt Island and other prime Florida locations, the birds are so close and so cooperative that, with a digiscoping rig, it is possible to achieve really intimate portraits. For this shot I used the zoom on both camera and scope to frame the bird’s head against the dark background, using –2/3EV exposure compensation to hold detail in the plumage and send the background really dark. The effect is striking. Of course the curves are all the Egret’s doing 🙂

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario Eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for something in the 3000mm range, 1/320th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto with EV.

Processed for clarity and sharpness in Lighroom.

04
Feb
11

2/4/2011: Anhinga, round two, Merritt Is NWR

The little pond by the restrooms at the head of the Cruikshank trail off Black Point Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is always worth a good long look. I almost always find something to photograph there…over the years: lizards, alligators, Green Heron, Snowy Egret, or, in this case, an elegant Anhinga in the final stages of his sun bath. There are very few birds that have the feather texture of the Anhinga, and these shots show it off to good advantage.

This bird was so close that to get anything like a full body shot, I had to zoom all the way out so the bird just filled a round circle in the middle of a black lcd screen…and then crop. And then I could not fit the full tail in.

And these are full frame views, showing off the stuff the neck gets up to and the feathering on the head…

 

All with the Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece of the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. Working at the 600 to 1200mm field of view range. Processed very lightly in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness.

03
Feb
11

2/3/2011: Wood Storks, Merritt Island NWR

Wood Storks are both beautiful and ugly. The plumage is elegant, and in flight they are majestic, but that head!

Of course even in the head there is a kind of grotesque beauty…kind of beautiful ugliness. Yes I know, contradictions…but that is Wood Stork for you.

By the way, with these storks we move from Viera Wetlands to Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Merritt Island is another favorite birding and digiscoping place in my yearly round of festivals. I always try to do the Blackpoint loop at least twice, at two different times of day, on every visit to Titusville, and I am rarely disappointed. Even if the birds are less abundant than usual (as was the case with ducks this year), there is generally at least one really cooperative bird that sits for a series of really satisfying images…and generally several.

Canons SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for equivalent fields of view between 1000mm and 2500mm. 1) 1/500th @ ISO 125, 2) 1/640th @ ISO 125, and 3) 1/800th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

Lightly processed in Lightroom for Recovery (highlight control), and image clarity and sharpness.

02
Feb
11

2/2/2011: Anhingas, Viera Wetlands

Wings on Wednesday. And such wings…though this male Anhinga evidently just got out to dry as the feathers are still in somewhat of a disarray. There is so much to look at in an Anhinga’s wings, so many different patterns. I don’t think I have ever noticed the horizontal banding on the innermost long wing feather.

And a close up of the head (different bird).

And finally, a female striking a different pose.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of 1) an 850mm lens, 1/1250th @ ISO 160, effective aperture f4, 2) 2000mm, 1/500th @ ISO 125, effective aperture f5.7, 3) 3000mm, 1/1000 @ ISO 200, effective aperture f8. Programmed auto.

Lightly processed in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness.

01
Feb
11

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.
31
Jan
11

1/31/2011: Ring-necked Duck, Viera Wetlands

I have trouble remembering that this is not the Ring billed Duck, for somewhat obvious reasons. I have yet to see the neck ring, though I have no doubt it is there. Duck plumage has a will of its own, of course, especially what appears to be “black” most of the time. It can be green or purple, in various shades, depending on the angle of the light…as here on the head and back.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of approximately a 3000mm lens, 1/400th @ ISO 125. Effective aperture of f9. Programmed auto.

And, from the same sequence.

30
Jan
11

1/30/2011: Limpkin, Viera Wetlands

Happy Sunday!

I can still remember my excitement in seeing my first Limpkin, a wader, strangely unrelated to the herons and egrets that share its habitat. It is the only species in its family, thought to be somewhat related to the rails and cranes, and has a very restricted range…only occurring in Florida, where it feeds on the declining population of Florida Apple Snails. It is listed as a “species of special concern”.

Viera Wetlands is an easy place to see and photograph Limpkins. Several individuals were feeding there the day I visited. This shot was late in the day when the lowering sun brought out the copper in the feathers.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of a 3000mm lens, 1/500th at ISO 125. Effective aperture of f8. Programmed auto.

Being Sunday, I will express my sense of gratitude to the folks who preserved our National Wildlife Refuges as habitat for the amazing birds of Florida…or, in the case of Viera Wetlands, who created new habit. I know things could be better, and that we could do better as stewards of this creation, but I am always reminded at places like Merritt Island NWR and Viera Wetlands (not to mention Bosque del Apache and Estero Lano Grande and Brigantine) that things could be a lot worse, and would be without the efforts of concerned humans, knowingly or unknowingly fulfilling the task the creator gave them.

One more Limpkin…from earlier in the day.

And the video:

 

Limpkin, Viera Wetlands, FL
29
Jan
11

1/29/2011: Green Heron, Viera Wetlands

When I started birding I learned this bird as the Green-backed Heron. Somewhere in there it lost the backed and became just the Green Heron…not even the Little Green Heron, or the Common Green Heron, or the Lessor Green Heron, or the American Green Heron…just the plain Green Heron.  Either way it is a striking bird, and especially so in the kind of close-ups you can get among the duck-weed at Viera Wetlands in Florida. 

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56 Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of a 3000mm lens. Effective aperture of f8 @ 1/800th @ ISO 125, Programmed auto.

Processed lightly in Lightroom for clarity and sharpness.

And this shot, backed off to about 1500mm equivalent.

And here is the video.

Green Heron: Viera Wetlands, FL