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Posts tagged “Canon 1.4x

Bald Eagle vs. Norther Harrier

On Saturday morning at Anahuac NWR, was talking photos of black-necked stilts on the back side of Shoveler Pond when a large bird flew overhead with other birds chasing it. Looked like an eagle but couldn’t tell for sure until his white head came into view. He went along the tall grass and grabbed a coot and flew back to the middle of the pond. Not a good time to be a coot at Anahuac these days as they are prime targets for raptors.

Had just backed off from ISO 3200 to 1600 with the stilts and didn’t have time to crank it back up with the eagle so had to work with a slow shutter speed of 1/250 for this flight shot.

1/250 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2 exposure compensation, 700mm, handheld out my car window

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When the eagle first caught the coot, a northern harrier followed him and kept circling to try to steal a bite. After the eagle was finished eating, the harrier made his move and landed just behind the eagle and stole a piece. Gutsy move.

Spent most of my time tracking the harrier while the eagle fed. Thought that it would be a more interesting photo with the two birds in one shot than just the eagle eating. Paid off in my opinion.

1/2500 sec @ F5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm, handheld out my car window

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All Puffed Up

This white morph reddish egret was all puffed up while strutting around Bolivar Flats.  There has been a record crop of white morph’s around this neck of the woods lately, which is very cool.

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

1/2000 sec @ F8, ISO 400, evaluative metering, no exposure compensation

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You Lookin at Me??

You lookin at me?  Better not be.  My boys behind me will come after you.

Made another trip to Bolivar Flats over the Memorial Day weekend while guiding three clients for two days.  They were at the end of a 3 week trip across south Texas with the Galveston area their last stop.  Thanks again to Kent, Bill and Ian for allowing me to show you around this part of Texas.  Had a great time and got to see lots of birds.

Made two stops to Bolivar Flats and found some avocets, reddish egrets and lots of snowy egrets.  Had several opportunities for some interaction shots which are always fun.  One was a little weird with an avocet trying to mate with an inanimate object.  More on that later.

While focusing on a avocet, saw two snowy egrets walking behind him.  Switched my attention to the background and visualized this shot coming as they crossed behind him.  The avocet cooperated by staring at me while getting some scratching action in.  Made for a cool shot.

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

1/1250 sec @ F10, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Pelican Stealing White Morph’s Fish

Here are some photos of the brown pelican scaring the white morph reddish egret in order to steal his fish.  He surprised me as well and they were too close at 700mm and ended up clipping the pelican’s wings in the first shot.  You can see the fish drop in the second photo with the pelican getting ready to enjoy his spoils in the last shot.

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

1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Flying Fish – White Morph Style

As a continuation from my last post, both white morph reddish egrets that we saw caught some very large fish.  A lazy or very smart brown pelican then started to chase the white morphs to scare them into dropping the fish so that he could reap the benefits of the great fishing skills of the egrets.

This white morph apparently fled the scene and kept the fish in tow while flying, which was a first for me to see, let alone photograph.  Luckily he landed fairly close to us with a very nice wing spread.

Got some photos of the pelican getting one of the white morphs to drop his fish later in the morning.  I’ll post those next time.

This was one of my most successful guiding trips to Bolivar Flats.  This was a very rare event to witness/photograph so I’m very pleased that my client got to see this behavior and get some great photos.

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, 1/2500 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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White Morph Reddish Egret

On this recent trip to Bolivar Flats in Texas, the reddish egrets were out in force, including two white morph’s.  I was guiding Bruno from San Diego, who hadn’t seen a white morph before so it was great timing.  They danced around right in front of us and both ended up catching some very large fish and had a close encounter with a brown pelican.  More photos to come.

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

1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/2000 sec @ F11, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Ground Level Bird Photography Field Trip #1 – Galveston FeatherFest 2017

Last Thursday through Sunday was a very busy time for me at Galveston’s Texas FeatherFest.  I led three classroom workshops and three field trips.  This was my 5th year being one of the photography leaders and it was a blast, as always.

My field trip on Saturday started off by catching the 6:00 a.m. Bolivar Ferry.  I met up with my group once we got off of the ferry and they followed me to Bolivar Flats.  It was going to be a sunny morning with low tide so I was hoping that the birds were going to be out.  Reports from the previous day indicated that the tide was abnormally low along the jetty without many birds in that area.  Upon pulling up to the parking area on the beach, I could see that there were some exposed sandbars and what looked like a flock of avocets, which was a major relief.  After we geared up, I gave everyone a quick lesson on how to try to try to keep their hands clean when lying down and getting up and we headed out.

There were two other photographers lying on the beach shooting the avocets so I decided to take my group out on the sandbar so that we weren’t looking into the sun all morning.  We walked through the water to the sandbar without incident, which wasn’t the case on Sunday.  More on that on my next post.

Ended up having the group lay down on the sandbar in a long row so that we wouldn’t be in each others line of fire for photography.  We had 8 participants along with myself and my liaison, who helps me keep track of everyone and gets us back to the headquarters on time.  I had the first person lay down near the water line at the north edge of the sandbar since the tide was supposed to be receding.  Well that theory didn’t work too well as the water level came up later and the first couple of people started getting wet so we had to shift the line to the right, which would have been an interesting video.

The flock of avocets kept walking back and forth across the area between the sandbars, which provided some decent photo op’s.  It’s always a challenge of trying to get one of the birds isolated from the flock.  Decided to get a little closer after a while so we practiced crawling on the sand while pushing our ground pods along.

After the action died down, I had the group rotate 180 deg. so that we could get some photos of willets that were in the water behind us.  Also, I had noticed several groups of avocets and brown pelicans flying by our sandbar and it finally hit me that we should turn around and get photos of them flying towards us.  That turned out to be a great decision as they birds kept coming our way for the rest of the field trip.

Thanks to Richard Howard for being my liaison and to everyone who came out to play in the wet sand with me.  I’m hoping that you had as much fun as I did and got some great photos from a different perspective that what you normally see.

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.

This photo is of the flock of avocets that kept walking back and forth in front of us.

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F10, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Caught these two avocets that were isolated from the rest of the group.  I’m always looking for how two birds will interact of make an interesting photo together, such as their beaks crossing when coming close to each other, etc.  These two made a cool mirror image of each other.

Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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After we turned around, several groups of avocets flew close to us.  This group was clustered together when I first spotted them and they then spread out as they got closer to us.  The ones on my far right were doing some very cool synchronized flying with common wing positions.

Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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This is the same group 1 second later as they got a little closer.

Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Here are the group photos so that I have evidence that yes, they actually laid down in the wet sand and…

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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…that they got wet and dirty.  Mission accomplished.

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F9, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Willet Wars

On my last trip to Bolivar Flats, the willets were in fighting mode with breeding season in full swing.  While taking photos of avocets, the willets were squawking away and chasing each other around.  These two started going at it and were circling around after one grabbed the others neck.  He then lifted off trying to get away but the other one held on for a while.  He finally broke free and left the area.

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 @F 7.1, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Avocet Silhouette

About 3 minuets after the brown pelican sunrise photo per my last post, caught this group of American Avocets passing under the sunrise.  Made for a cool silhouette shot.

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, 1/8000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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Pelican in Rising Sun

In preparation for my two field trips that I’m leading to Bolivar Flats during Galveston’s FeatherFest, made a scouting trip to the coast last Sunday.  My original goal was to scout out the area but will have to try that one again as I didn’t get past the parking area due to a flock of Avocets being right there before the sun came up.

Caught this brown pelican doing a fly-by as he passed near the sun.  Was able to see him coming as I’ve learned to shoot with both eyes open, which is one of the tips in one of my classroom workshops that weekend.

Very little cropping on this shot, which made it a little more challenging than normal for a flight shot off of a ground pod with the limited range of motion from side to side.

Here is a link to the FeatherFest website.  We have several great photography leaders with both classroom workshops and field trips.  This will be my 5th year leading my events.  As of a week ago, there were a few spots left on my trips so check them out if interested.

http://www.galvestonfeatherfest.com/

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, 1/1600 sec @ F7.1, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Moose Encounter at Yellowstone

Here are some photos of my first Moose encounter in Yellowstone.  We found this one as we were headed to Cooke City on the north side of Yellowstone.  Jared spotted a female moose and made a quick turn around with his vehicle to try to find it again.  We ended up having to drive to the next turn-around as the snow was quite high along the road.  By the time that we got back, Doug had spotted this male bull moose walking through the trees.

We set up near the road as he walked out of the tree line right in front of us.  It was very exciting as he got into open ground in the virgin show.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter, mounted on a tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

Manual mode, 1/2000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, spot metering off of the snow

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Long-Tailed Weasel

Here are some photos of a Long-Tailed Weasel from Yellowstone.  He was originally identified as an Ermine but later was corrected to the Long-Tailed Weasel due to the length of his tail.  The black tip on their tails help them survive as raptors will go for the black tip and allow them to escape.

Meggi spotted him while will we were headed down one of the snow covered roads.  The snowcoach driver stopped suddenly, I grabbed my 500mm lens and headed to the door.  Of course, the driver was trying to grab some of his gear and hadn’t opened the door.  I started raising my voice and ended up yelling for him to “please open the door!”.  That got his attention and I started shooting from the open door.  However, the people behind me weren’t too pleased so I bailed out of the vehicle and the pursuit was on for this little critter.

In my haste to get at least a few shots before he disappeared under the snow, I forgot my hat and gloves.  Also forgot that my 1.4X was still on, so trying to quickly focus on this fast moving little critter was a major challenge.  He ran back and forth along near the road for about 20 min.  At one point he ran across the road and back and went straight for our workshop leader, Jared.  Thought that we was going to try to run up his leg.

Several other vehicles stopped while we were there to get photos.  It was lots of chaos but also lots of fun.  Had to sneak back to the bus at one point to grab my hat/gloves and take off the teleconverter.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III telconverter, handheld

1/2500 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, spot metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/2000 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, spot metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm, with minimal cropping

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Jumping Fox

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Yellowstone was the red fox.  Our workshop leader, Jared Lloyd, knew where to find him as we headed to Larmar Valley on the north side of Yellowstone.  He was sitting on top of a snow covered boulder that helped keep track of potential predators.

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We spent about 2 hrs photographing him in the morning and came back in the afternoon.  He had moved off of the rock and was sitting near his den along side the rock.  Got a couple of shots of him and then, in my infinite wisdom, I stepped away from my camera to see where the rest of my group was.  Of course, a snowball came rolling down the hill and spooked the fox and he quickly got up.  Missed that shot but got him as he stopped and turned towards us before entering his den under the rock.

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He ended up coming out the other side of then rock via the back door and climbed on top of the hill adjacent to the rock.  We got several shots of him in that position.  Some of us were thinking that we were going to leave at that point but Doug came walking up the road from parking one of the vehicles and said that we were going to stay put.  That was a great decision as the action picked up.  The fox finally got up, yawned several times and headed back to his rock.

He then got into position and jumped back onto the snow covered rock.  I was able to catch him in midair during the jump.

 

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Yellowstone Adventure

Sorry that I’ve been away for a while but a recent trip has kept me somewhat preoccupied.  Finally checked going to Yellowstone off of my bucket list.  Decided last spring to take the plunge and register for a 10 day trip to Yellowstone in the winter.  Goal was to avoid the crowds and to see the raw beauty of Yellowstone in the winter.

Ended up spending the rest of 2016 buying up warm clothes for the trip.  More on that later.

I’m still working on my photos and it will take some time to go through all of them.  Here are a couple of teaser shots.

More to come…

Frosty Bison:  it was – 20 deg F on the first day that we entered the park from the town of West Yellowstone.  We headed towards Old Faithful looking for “frosty” bison.  We found a herd along the way and were rewarded with some great photo op’s.

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

Manual mode, 1/1600 sec @ F9, ISO 3200, spot metering off the snow with adjustments from there, 700mm

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Red Fox yawning:  We found this red fox sitting on top of a snow covered boulder, which he used as protection from coyotes.  He was one of my favorite targets on this trip.  We spent about 4 hours photographing him that day.

1/800 sec @ F7.1, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 2 1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Brown Pelican as a Fishbowl

Found this Brown Pelican fishing off of the Texas City dike.  It’s fun to watch them dive into the water and then to see what they come up with.  He was getting harassed by a laughing gull that would stand on his head waiting for him to come up with fish to steal.

Got this shot after the gull flew off with a fish.  The back-lighting helps with showing off the veins in his beak.  This little fish didn’t have a chance but popped up to get his picture taken.

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

Aperture priority, 1/2000 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Reddish Egret vs. Great White Egret

While taking photos of a Reddish Egret fishing, a Great Egret flew in to challenge the Reddish for the best fishing spot.  The Great Egret won this confrontation.

Although the sun was reflecting off of the water, had use positive exposure compensation to get lighted up the birds.  It blew out the water but it still works.

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

Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation, 700mm

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White Morph Reddish Egret

Found two White Morph Reddish Egrets at Bolivar Flats last weekend while guiding my old buddy Newton.  He brought along Ruth Hoyt, who is an excellent professional photographer/guide at south Texas ranches, like Laguna Seca, where I first met her.  It was great to see both of them again.

The tide wasn’t low but the birds were out in force.  We started with a group of Willets and other small shorebirds with a lone Avocet nearby.  There was a group of Avocets within striking distance but they were spooked and took off.

Spotted a couple of Reddish Egrets further down the shoreline and headed that direction.  The Reddish Egrets weren’t very active initially so Newton and I headed back up the shoreline to a group of Black Skimmers.

We then spotted at least two White Morph Reddish Egrets back down the shoreline so we headed back in that direction.  Lots of up and down on this trip.  Found two White Morph’s and two Reddish Egrets along with one Great Egret standing around.  They eventually started to catch fish with one of the Reddish Egret’s trying to chase the two white morph’s away.

This White Morph was striking some nice poses with his feathers all perked up as he was checking out the other egrets.

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

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

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Owl Tender Landing

This Burrowing Owl tried to land in this thorny bush but didn’t stick around long.  Kept his wings flapping for some good photo op’s.  I’m gonna miss these little owls.

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

Aperture priority, 1/500 sec @ F 5.6, ISO 3200, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Avocet Wearing Water

Bathing birds can provide for some good photo op’s.  With a high shutter speed, froze the action when he came up out of the water.  Captured the water going over his head and body.  Always a good time seeing these birds up close.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod

manual exposure, 1/1600 sec @ F10, ISO 400, spot metering, 700mm

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