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Pyrrhuloxia

Had to look up the spelling on this bird.  Related to the Northern Cardinal, the Pyrrhuloxia thrives in the desert southwest.  They were very skittish and didn’t stick around long so I was very pleased to get these shots, especially the wingspan shot of the female.

Took these photos at Santa Clara Ranch in SW Texas in June.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on a tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head from a photography blind

Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.0, ISO 1600, spot metering

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Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F6.3, ISO 1600, spot metering

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Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F6.3, ISO 3200, evaluative metering

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Burrowing Owl Portrait

This juvenile Burrowing Owl was hanging out near the fence line where I was taking photos.  Moved my car up close to him and shot away for about 10 min as he was trying to stay awake.

He finally moved for the second photo but there was a blurred out barbed wire fence right above him so I cropped it tighter.

Had to use negative exposure compensation to keep from blowing out the whites on his chest.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 II II with 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld out the car window

Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

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Dive Bombing an Osprey

Had lots of fun taking Osprey photos on my Indiana trip.  Their nest was still active with two large chicks along with two protective parents.

The parents had some challenges when flying as several small birds would chase and dive bomb them.  It was obvious when the Osprey would take an abrupt turn that they were being chased.  Made for some interesting flight shots.

Ended up using all focus points as it was a challenge to keep a single focus point on the fast moving action.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II lens, handheld

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F8, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 400mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F8, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 400mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F8, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 400mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F8, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation, 400mm

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Aperture priority, 1/2500 sec @ F8, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 400mm

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Great Horned Owl

Made my summer trek back home to Indiana a couple of weeks ago with limited expectations from a wildlife photography perspective.  We usually go in June when the Osprey’s are nesting and there is an abundance of Sandhill cranes in the area.  Therefore, I left my 500mm lens at home and traveled light with my 100-400 II lens.

To my surprise, the Osprey’s were still around along with some Sandhill cranes.  Best of all, found this Great Horned Owl along a dirt back road.

Just after sunrise, I was driving along my usual route when a bird caught my eye with just a glimpse of something flying just under the tree canopy as it spread over the road going up a hill.  I crested the hill and saw the bird gliding very low about one foot above the road.  Thought to myself that it wasn’t a hawk but had to be an owl.  He flew up into a tree near the road.  When my car got closer, he flew away and continued down the road.  As he approached an intersection with a paved road, I thought that he was going to get hit by a car if he continued his path but he took a quick right turn before getting to the stop sign.

Drove very slow while scanning the area when I spotted him lying in the grass along the road on my right side.  Had to go past him and turn the car around to get into position for some photos.  The first photo shows what he looked like after I turned around.  Slowly inched the car forward to try to get to a better position with the grass out of his face.  Made it to that position but there was some trash just on the left side of his head.  Had to move again to get the trash behind his head.

Had to remove my teleconverter and use ISO to 10,000 to get my shutter speed above 100.  Luckily he stuck around for 10 minutes which allowed me enough time to remove the teleconverter and get several photos.  On my computer, I can see the reflection of my car in his beautiful eyes.

Aperture priority, 1/80 sec @ F8, ISO 12,800, evaluative metering, 560mm

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Aperture priority, 1/125 sec @ F5.6, ISO 10,000, evaluative metering, 400mm

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Whale Tails

My second whale watching trip last week brought sunny skies and record numbers of whale sightings.  There was an abundance of krill in the area so the whales were out in force with 265 spotted on Sunday.  Typical sightings this time of year are 10 to 15 whales on the four hour trip.  They reported over 120 humpback whales on my Tuesday trip.  It was very cool to get lucky enough to see so many whales.  They were spouting and slapping tails everywhere we looked.

Here is an article from a local paper about the high whale counts.

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/environment-and-nature/20160720/humpback-blue-whales-storm-monterey-bay

Catching the whales diving with their tails in the air as they ready for a dive is always a good photo op.  This day was more challenging with the rougher seas.  The boat was rocking severely, especially when stationary.  Had to try to lean on the rail, which was waist high, while trying to get the shot.  Had to keep grabbing the rail to keep from falling over.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II lens, handheld, 400mm with minimal cropping

Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/4000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F5.6, ISO 640, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Breaching Humpback Whale

Made a trip to Monterey Bay in California last weekend for some whale watching with my daughter.  Went back again on Tuesday as it’s very addictive.  On Saturday’s trip, we saw 10 humpback whales, 3 blue whales and 1 fin whale.  It was foggy/cloudy but still made for some decent photography.

Got to check one photo off my bucket list when this humpback jumped out of the water.  It was very cool to see and was hoping that I got the shot as it happened very quickly.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II lens, handheld

Aperture priority, 1/4000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Roadrunner Stare-Down

He must have been wondering where the machine gun fire was coming from nearby.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with Wimberley II gimbal head on a tripod.

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F8, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, 500mm

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