Monday, December 31, 2012

Thanks


I want to say thank you to everyone who has visited me during the past year and for all of the kind comments. I appreciate the support and encouragement! It's only fitting that my signature bird be part of my thanks to you and farewell to 2012.

1/640 sec. f/16 ISO 320


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Frozen Greetings


Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas holiday!
See you in a few days.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Coot Fishing


In the past month, I've posted photos of both a Pied-billed Grebe and a Hooded Merganser as they were fishing. And it was the first time I had photographed either one actually catching fish. Good fortune must come in three's because today I have photos of an American Coot fishing. Coots must be the more intelligent of the group as they've apparently learned to fish smarter, not harder.




1/500 sec. f/9 ISO 400

Yeah, okay, so the last shot doesn't actually belong with the first three, but what's the point of photography if you can't have a little fun, right? On a side note, if any of you are on 500px or Flickr, I'd be glad to follow you. Just let me know.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Merganser Fishing


I was extremely fortunate to photograph this female Hooded Merganser as she was fishing. Normally, mergansers won't let me anywhere near them and it was the first time I had seen one by itself. They typically stay in small flocks. Unlike the Pied-billed Grebe I photographed recently, this merganser didn't spend time playing with her food. She dove, caught it, and swallowed it in fairly short order. Who says girls can't fish as well as the guys?






1/640 sec. f/7.1 ISO 200



Monday, December 10, 2012

Favorites Series VI


I believe I'll end the series with this post. I have more photos I could pick, but I don't wish to belabor the point and we're all going to be busy with the approaching holidays. Choosing photos for this post was the toughest since I knew they would be the last in the series. I hope you've enjoyed the posts and understood my purpose was to share some of my personal favorites and why I like them. It wasn't meant as a bragging exercise.

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I have several photos of female cardinals I really like so it was difficult to choose just one. I like this one because of the feather detail and the overall peaceful look to the shot.




I have two versions of this scene. The one you see here and another with the heron in focus and the gulls blurred. I like them both, but in this photo it is pretty easy to tell the heron is a heron even though it's out of focus. I really like the reflection of the gulls on that narrow patch of ice which isn't as dramatic in the other version because the gulls are out of focus. The distance between the heron and the gulls was actually quite far, but because I used a big lens I was able to compress the distance and make them appear closer.




I have a couple of crow shots that are my personal favorites and it wasn't easy picking which one I was going to post. I like this one because of the way the wing is extended. I think of Ginsu blades. I also like how the crow is looking down and balanced on one leg. Plus, I like the uncluttered look of the photo.




You may or may not have noticed I haven't chosen many landscape or sky photos for the series. As I looked through my shots, I realized there really weren't many that stood out as favorites. Not in the way the wildlife photos do. This storm clouds photo, though, has always been one I really liked. The cloud hanging down in the center looks like a hornets nest which is, ironically, quite appropriate. I also like the area of light near the top and the overall angry look of the clouds.




This is definitely my favorite whitetail deer photo to date even though you can't see much of the deer. I ran into a doe and fawn while out hiking one day and they were curious enough to stick around. The doe walked into the woods and came toward me trying to figure me out. The auto focus was going haywire because of all the branches so I switched to manual and when the doe stopped, I snapped off a few shots. I like how you can see her eyes and ears, but most everything else is covered by the blurry branches. This is a photo where the subject in the center works pretty well.




This photo represents the best shots I have of any bird of prey. I see hawk photos all the time on other blogs, but I rarely see the birds when I'm out, much less get photos of them. This Red-tailed Hawk was sitting in an open field and, if you recall from my original post, I had to pull over and put my camera gear together. I thought for sure the hawk would fly off before I was ready, but it didn't and I got quite a few photos. I like the uncluttered background of the field and the profile of the hawk.




Friday, December 7, 2012

Early Morning Sky II

1/13 sec. f/8 ISO 400


1/80 sec. f/16 ISO 400


1/30 sec. f/16 ISO 400

Linking to Skywatch Friday


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Maybe Next Year


Our autumn color wasn't as widespread and brilliant as I had hoped this year. There were pockets of color and lots of individual trees that turned nicely, but nothing I could take a sweeping landscape of showing bright reds, yellows, and oranges. Ironically, some of the most brightly colored trees were located in the most developed areas - shopping centers and residential neighborhoods. The backgrounds those kinds of photos would have are not appealing to me.

Alas, the leaves have fallen now. Maybe next year.

1/500 sec. f/5.6 ISO 100

1/500 sec. f/11 ISO 200

1/640 sec. f/7.1 ISO 200

1/250 sec. f/8 ISO 200


Monday, December 3, 2012

Favorites Series V


Great Blue Herons have kind of been a staple of my photography since I took it back up seriously. I didn't plan to spend so much time photographing them, it just worked out that way. We tend to shoot what's available to us. I mean, I'd like to photograph lions, but hey...

I'm not sure how many more of these posts I'll do, but I wanted to include some of my favorite heron shots before wrapping the series up.

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This is another mid-air fish flip shot that turned out well. I've learned that herons tend to do this only with smaller fish. The big fish still get maneuvered into the head first position, but not in such dramatic fashion due to their size.




This is one of a handful of flight shots that I really like. This is a juvenile Great Blue and I like the straight legs, tucked head, and overall aerodynamic look of the bird. This is about as graceful as a heron can look in flight.




I watched this heron flying across the lake in front of me when it suddenly hit the air brakes and stuck its legs out. I realized it was going to land on this small stump...which it did with perfection. I just like the positioning of the whole body. The head and neck are visible and the outstretched legs are pointed right at the stump.




The biggest reason I like this shot, and the others in the sequence, is because it was the first and only time I've photographed a heron catching something other than fish. This heron plucked a vole out of the bank after watching it for several minutes. I had no idea what the heron was after until it pulled the critter out. It dunked the vole in the lake a few times and swallowed it.




This is my number one favorite flight shot. While not as graceful looking as the juvenile above, I like the outstretched neck, open bill, and the wingtip reflection. Sometimes I wish I had photographed the full reflection, but the wingtips are enough to make it interesting.