…morning light is magic…

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Reddish Egret Portrait in Golden Light

Golden light at sunrise rocks.  Got this Reddish Egret portrait shot from Bolivar Flats along the Gulf Coast on Friday.  As usual, was using my ground pod to get the low-level look.

I try to get into position about 1/2 before the sun comes up to get some cool pre-dawn color but that’s not practical with the time change.  Have to get up at 4:00 a.m. at the latest to make the 6:00 a.m. Bolivar Ferry.  Was walking out to my spot when the sun popped but it was still good.  Don’t know about the birds, but I had a great time.

Started out shooting black necked stilts when this reddish egret flew in.  He didn’t stick around long but loved the golden light on him and the weeds in the background.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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B&W Sea Otters

Here are some more sea otter photos from Morro Bay, CA.  There were two pups in the group and it was difficult to get a decent shot of them.

Converted these to B&W using NIK Silver EFfx Pro 2.

1/640 sec @ F4.5, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation, 500mm mounted on tripod

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1/400 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation, 560mm with 100-400 II lens and 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld

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1/500 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation, 560mm with 100-400 II lens and 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld

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Sea Otters at Morro Bay, CA

Spent last weekend at Morro Bay in California taking photos of sea otters.  This was my second trip there in the last 4 1/2 years.  Got some time to see some old friends and make some new ones.  Love this small bay town and need to try to make this an annual trip.

Day 1 was cloudy with about 20 otters wrapped up in sea weed near the Morro Bay rock.  They wrap themselves in kelp to keep them from floating away at night while sleeping.

Tried to get as close to the water as possible, which meant positioning my tripod on the rocks and sitting on a rock for a few hours.  Had to shift position when the water came up with the tide.

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

Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/400 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 2 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F4.5, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 2 exposure compensation, 500mm 


F18 Vapor at Wings Over Houston 2017

Made it to Wings Over Houston special show again this year and took photos from outside the gates with my 100-400 lens.  Got in a good spot across the road from the runway and got the F-18 coming in for a high-speed pass almost right over me (first two photos).  He came back for another pass and banked left and caught some great vapor on his wings.   Lots of fun trying to track him when he was flying around 600 mph.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II with 1.4X III teleconverter, handheld

1/3200 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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1/2500 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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1/4000 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Reddish Egret Fight

These two reddish egrets went toe to toe yesterday at Bolivar Flats along the gulf coast of Texas.  Had my ISO cranked up to 3200 while taking static shots of a couple of white morph reddish egrets when these two started fighting.  Should have increased to ISO to 6400 but didn’t have enough time to change any settings as the action happened very fast.  Lots of blurred action in this series but it was very fun to watch and photograph.  More to come…

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500MM F4 IS II with 1.4X teleconverter mounted on skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

1/20 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Hurricane Harvey and Aransas Bay Rookery

Since hurricane Harvey hit the Texas gulf coast, my brain has been in a major funk, so to speak, and I just haven’t been in the mood to post or take any photos for the past month, even though we made it through relatively unscathed.

The storm came ashore and devastated Rockport, TX, flooded the Houston area with about 50 inches of rain and then flooded Beaumont/Port Arthur.

We got very lucky and didn’t have any flooding in our neighborhood but others nearby weren’t so lucky.  The west end of my town, League city,  got extensive flooding from Clear Creek with about 7,700 homes being flooded.  Towns west and south of us (Friendswood & Dickinson) had greater flooding.  Overall, the flooding in the Houston area was devastating with around 200,000 homes and one million cars flooded.  With over 80% of homeowners without flood insurance, it’s going to be a very rough time for the people of Texas for a very long time.  Watching TV and seeing the high water rescues that were underway for several days was very depressing.  It was surreal to see highway off-ramps being used as boat ramps for the rescue boats.

We only had two roof leaks to deal with and feel very lucky.  Had to play bucket brigade with one of them streaming in on Sunday morning when we were getting 6 inches/hour of rain.  It would have been a major mess if we would have evacuated.  This storm was good motivation for us to replace our 23 yr old roof, which will be finished tomorrow.

I kept looking out my front door in the middle of the night to try to see how high the water level was coming up.  We then decided to move some stuff up to the second floor of our home just in case.  Didn’t realize until mowing the yard about a week later that the water came up into my yard about 4 ft with a visible debris line in my grass.  Somehow we never lost power.

It took a couple of days before the water receded on local roads where we could get to the store to pick-up a couple of fans to help dry out the carpet near our fireplace.  We also bought a couple of car loads of cleaning supplies to donate to a local shelter that was set up for people who had to evacuate their homes.

It’s been very sad to see people’s lives sitting at the curb with furniture, beds, sheet rock, carpet, etc. pulled out of their flooded houses with lots of it still sitting there a month after the storm.

Now back to the birds.  Learned recently that the rookery in Aransas Bay has been devastated with most of the vegetation being wiped out.  See the link below to see before and after videos at the rookery.  Reminds me of what happened to the High Island rookery after hurricane Ike but this is more severe.

http://www.caller.com/videos/sports/outdoors/2017/09/15/rookeries-take-hit-harvey/105609968/

Feel so fortunate to have visited the rookery in April.  Here are a few photos from that trip.  Hoping that it can recover soon.

Taken from a boat with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod.

1/125 sec @ F4, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/2500 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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1/2500 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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Sandhill Chasing Whooping Crane

While taking pictures of a lone whooping crane, three sandhill cranes came flying in.  They apparently thought that they had power in numbers and tried to chase off the whooping crane.  It made for some very cool photo op’s.  They were almost successful when all of a sudden two other whooping cranes flew in what I thought was an attempt to save the day.  In reality, they ended up chasing away the original whooping crane.  Go figure…

1/500 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, – 1 1/3 exposure compensation

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

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