Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Part Three

Continuing with photos from the Sylvan Heights Bird Park, April 26. Sometimes nets or fencing are unavoidable in the background, so I try to make the best of it.

Budgerigars trying different kiss angles:

Some parrots are so interestingly varicolored that they're worth front and back views:

I think this pigeon wants to lead a musical ensemble.

In the "landing zone", the parakeets are so used to human proximity that they will land on our hands, shoulders, heads, and cameras. This half a dozen on another photographer is far fewer than I had occupying my own arm at one point. I even had three nibbling on my shoes, but no photos to show for it.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sylvan Heights Bird Park, Part Two

Continuing the photos from April 26, I'll begin with a portrait of the the Mandarin Duck we've already seen, then progress through a few of the other largish water fowl, with a parrot thrown in for variety.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Sylvan Heights Bird Park Part One

Saturday I made my first visit to Sylvan Heights Bird Park near Scotland Neck, NC. It was a great experience, and I came home with so many photos that even after editing down to a small fraction of the shots that I would like to share, the only practical approach to including them in this blog will be to break things into small daily doses. Eventually I will revamp my main website and organize galleries of images sorted in rational fashion (I hope!), but right now here are some water fowl in chronological order, the beginning of the day.

The iridescent patch of purple on the cheek of this male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) only flashed briefly at this exact angle. I was pleased that all of the other colors and textures came through well in this shot. The sunlight was very intense at that time.

This blue nosed fella is a male Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis).

I think this next might be a variety of Muscovy Duck, but the color patterns and the head bulb are different from, and more attractive than (from my own perspective) what I'm used to seeing.

The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata, male) and turtle (gender unknown) seemed like companions, and looked contemplative, which put me in a similar mood.

When the duck began flapping its wings, I reacted as if it were a human crying "hey, look here!"

"You can shoot me, but don't ignore my slower pal!"

A scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) can be a show stopper pretty much anywhere, but against a background of totally blurred greenery - wow!

[all photos done with Canon EOS 1DX, EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II + Ext 2X III, resulting focal length 600 mm, wide open aperture of f/5.6]


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Five times two, times two

Long day today - educational concert, rehearsal, portrait session. Even so, when I spotted these thumbnail sized flowers in soft, end of day light, I had to do some photography for myself.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Never close enough, but close enough to try a shot

This spring, I've been proving to myself that the bird photographer's cliche about telephoto lenses never being long enough is mostly true. Of course a person with the patience and skill to closely approach wildlife would not have this problem. For casual wildlife shooters, though, it can seem that you never have enough magnification. (Another way to state the situation is that the lens is never long enough except when it's too long. Birds tend to be shy and fast, so they don't closely approach until they suddenly fly right by you, at which point your long telephoto is too big and heavy to aim quickly, can't focus on a subject that close, and might not include the whole bird in the frame anyway!)

With all of that said, here are three shots from this afternoon, each of which required cropping. These blackbirds showed up before any geese, gulls, or herons.

I had almost given up on seeing any Great Blue Herons when this one soared across the opposite end of the lake.

I had about decided I wouldn't see any more interesting wildlife at all, and was headed home when this cardinal landed in a nearby tree and played hide and seek amid the branches.

[All photos Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II with Extender 2X III]

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wet Raleigh

It would probably be a good discipline for me to got on a photo outing and limit myself to one image. However, I must admit I'm more inclined to try to find as many different subjects as I can, regardless of where I find myself. Today was a mostly rainy day, with the sky consistently overcast, so I went out to look for scenes of "wet Raleigh". I started with an ess curve of railroad tracks at Pullen Park, and finished on a section of Greenway at almost the opposite end of town. Although I had a selection of lenses with me, all of my shooting ended up being done with a 70-200mm zoom. It was misty when I did the first photo and poured for a time after that, but had quit raining before the last exposures.

Permalink: /2014/04/wet-raleigh.html

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sunset through distant trees

Last night's sunset didn't produce a spectacular spread of color through the sky, which was almost cloudless, but it did climax with an intense orb dipping past the horizon. When viewed through the tunnel vision of a long lens, I thought it had photo possibilities. I blocked the sun itself with a tree limb. The surrounding glow through gaps in the distant trees looked exactly like a forest fire (so glad it was not!), which you can see here.

Momentary distraction! Backlit dandelion preparing to replicate!

When the solar display peaked, I had found my best composition around budding leaves. They were about seven feet from me, while the trees in the background were at least one hundred times that far away. There is no manipulation in this image, just the extreme contrast of in focus/out of focus, and the natural colors are modestly enhanced, just as they appeared to me, subjectively, at the time of exposure.

Incidentally, this might be taken as an example of landscape photography not always being done with wide angle lenses.

[all photos Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L II IS)

Permalink: /2014/04/sunset-through-distant-trees.html

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wet Flowers, the all-natural way

A rainy day, overcast sky providing that "giant softbox" look of light from almost all directions, and flowers highlighted by drops of moisture with no effort required on my part - what could be a more perfect invitation to wander about with a macro lens?

And spring is here.

Permalink: /2014/04/wet-flowers-all-natural-way.html