…morning light is magic…

Birds

Galveston FeatherFest 2018

As another year at Galveston’s FeatherFest comes to a close, thanks go out to everyone who participated this year. Special thanks to JulieAnn Brown, Executive Director from Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, and her flock of 200 volunteers that make the event possible every year.

Had a great time leading three field trips and three classroom workshops again this year. This was year #6 for me as a leader and can’t wait to do it again.

Extremely high winds on Friday and Saturday mornings provided some challenges but the birds and rain cooperated. We had a flock of black skimmers and beautiful sunrise at East Beach on Friday, a few thousand avocets in breeding plumage on Saturday morning at Bolivar Flats and a white morph reddish egret dancing away right in front of us this morning.

Here are some group photos from today’s Ground Level Bird Photography field trip to Bolivar Flats. They received the full ground pod treatment including laying in some prime-time muck. Thanks again Chris for helping out again this year.
I’ll post more photos later as time permits.

For the participants that would like a full size copy, I’ve posted it on my website that you can copy them from:

https://www.timtimmis.com/Wildlife/Galveston-FeatherFest-2018/

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Reddish Egret Dancing

While getting prepared for leading workshops at Galveston’s FeatherFest again this year, went back over some photos from last years event and found this one taken at Bolivar Flats.  This reddish egret was dancing around and put on a great show for my group.

Wasn’t sure why the two birds were hanging out together until observing interesting behavior a few weeks later when a pelican kept stealing fish from a reddish egret.  Whatever works for getting breakfast.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on a Skimmer ground pod with a Wimberley II gimbal head

1/2500 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Brown Pelicans in a Blur

I’ve been in a major creative funk lately with it being several weeks since I’ve gone out to take wildlife photos.  Life gets in the way sometimes with business travel,  some dental issues, lots to do around the house and getting a new computer.  I’ve been working on a blog post about my journey to find a new computer and will share that later.  Also the weather in SE Texas hasn’t been cooperating on weekends for the last 8 weeks or so.

Decided to go to the Texas City Dike a couple of weeks ago to create some abstract wildlife photos with some slow shutter speeds.  Made it to the dike before sunrise and waited until I could focus on brown pelicans that were diving for fish.

Used shutter priority to slow the action down while creating some interesting blurs.  It’s fun but challenging to try this technique.  You won’t get the same photo twice as each shot is dependent on how fast you are panning with the bird and what the bird is doing, which is part of the fun.  Went back the following weekend to crank it down even further to 1/10 sec.

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

Shutter priority, 1/15 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation

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Shutter priority, 1/20 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Shutter priority, 1/20 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Whooping Crane

Spent this past weekend in Rockport, TX trying to find Whooping Crane at Aransas NWR via a boat with Kevin Sims.  Had a great time as always.  Thanks again Scott for the invite.

Saturday with very foggy and had to start late and tried to wait out the fog.  No luck with that strategy, so Kevin worked the shoreline.  We found three whooping cranes that were looking for crabs in a small pond close to the shoreline.  We got very luck as they worked their way towards us and ended up walking out of the pond and got very close.  Ended up having to taking off my 1.4X teleconverter as I was only getting head shots.  A great problem to have when shooting whooping cranes.

Got this stare down from the juvenile crane.  They stuck around for about 1/2 hour and then walked away.  Was a great experience.

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

1/500 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, spot metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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White Tailed Hawk

Hope that everyone survived new years celebrations.  We did our usual Mexican restaurant for dinner and headed home before the crazies got on the road.

For my old friend Joe, here are a few shots of a White Tailed Hawk that I found on the road leading up to Anahuac NWR while guiding Stephen Bontempo around a few weeks ago.  These were taken out my car window.  Pulled up and had to quickly get ready to shoot.  He laughed before I got the first shot off but got several photos of him as he took off and flew away.  Good times…

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter.

1/1000 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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1/1000 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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1/2000 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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1/1600 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Happy New Year!

Hoping that all of you had a great 2017.  My plan was to post my favorite shots for 2017 before now but I got tied up over the holidays so it will have to wait for early Jan.

2018 will start out with a bang for me from a photography perspective and then have some challenges.  It’s going to be an interesting year for sure.

Spend the morning of Christmas Eve at Bolivar Flats along the gulf coast taking shorebird photos, along with a few raptors.  While walking out along the shoreline, saw a dark spot out on the sand that looked out of place.  Trusted my instinct and picked up my camera and spotted a peregrine falcon.  Got very excited and walking slowly closer to him, laid down, took a couple of shots, went to check my histogram and he took off.

Walked away from that area over to one of my favorite spots around the corner and spotted a couple of hundred Avocets feeding just off shore.  Laid down and belly crawled towards them.  The muck was very slimy and ended up on my knees and pushed my ground pod along for about 60 ft and stayed put for a couple of hours.

All of a sudden, all of the birds flew away, which usually means that either a raptor or human was nearby.  Spun around on my stomach thanks to the slimy muck and caught this Northern Harrier flying along the vegetation line.

Ended up seeing a couple of Harriers and four Caracara’s.  Tis the season for migrating raptors.

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

Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation.

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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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