Archive Page 2

17
Feb
11

2/17/2011: Rosy spoons 2

I promised you an unrelenting diet of Roseate Spoonbills for a few days here and this gentleman, resting in a mangrove, is the second helping. Roseates must lose a lot of heat through that bill, since when resting they always tuck it well into the back feathers. The only trick to a shot like this is catching the eye open.

Here is the same bird, from the same spot with less zoom.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for the equivalent field of view of 3000mm and 1000mm, 3000mm @ 1/500th @ ISO 160, f8.5 effective (scope limited), and 1000mm @ 1/640 @ ISO 250, f4.5 effective (camera limited). 

Processed for clarity and sharpness in Lightroom.

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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.

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.

14
Feb
11

2/14/2011: Snowy! Happy Valentines Day

Okay, so this shot of a Snowy Egret taken at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has nothing at all to do with Valentines Day…except maybe the very beginnings of breeding plumage in the bird…but that is a real stretch. Still, Happy Valentines Day!

This was taken at the same pool by the restrooms on Blackpoint drive that yielded the Anhinga, the Green Heron, and the Alligator. Not bad for a pool only about seven car lengths long and maybe one and half wide.

As always, the trick with a Snowy Egret in the sun is to get the exposure right. I have played with Exposure Compensation often enough to know that, on a shot like this, where the bird fills a good deal of the frame, you are often better off just letting the auto exposure do it’s thing. A touch of Recovery in Lightroom might be needed for the highlights, but then at least the background does not go way dark.

I worked this bird for 15 minutes or so, as it moved around the pool. Here is alternative shot framed against the water, and cropped from the top for composition.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario Eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope. About 1200mm equivalent field of view. 1) 1/600 @ ISO 125. 2) 1/800th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

Processed for clarity and sharpness in Lightroom.

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.