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Posts tagged “Canon 7D

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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My 2014 Favorites

As 2014 comes to a close, I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from this year.  It was challenging for me to get out and shoot on a routine basis but ended up with some photos that made it worth while.

Highlights in 2014 included seeing the Sand Hill Crane migration in Nebraska, leading successful workshops and field trips at Galveston’s FeatherFest, getting published again and finally upgrading to a pro series camera.  Now that I have all of the tools, just need some more trigger time to further develop my skills.

Thanks to everyone around the world that checked out my blog and especially to those who left some comments along the way.  Appreciate your support.  Looking forward to more wildlife photography in 2015.

Great Egret from High Island’s rookery

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Sandhill Crane from Nebraska

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White Morph Reddish Egret from Bolivar Flats

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American Oystercatcher from Texas City Dike

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Reddish Egret from Bolivar Flats

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American Avocet from Bolivar Flats

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Graphic of where people were from that visited my blog in 2014

Blog Hits 2014

 


Foggy Sunrise

One more Nebraska Sandhill Crane photo for the road.  Taken after sunrise over the Platte River in cool 16 deg F weather.  The Sandhill’s launched before sunrise with some coming back to the river for some final photo op’s.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 400, evaluative metering

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Dancing Sandhill Cranes

To round out my Nebraska Sandhill Crane posts, the most fun was watching these birds do their mating dances.  They would bow down and then jump into the air for all to see.  Some would pick up corn stalks and throw them up into the air.  The fields were full of Sandhill’s jumping all around.  Good times.  Just wish that I would have had my new camera on this trip.  Can’t wait to go back next year.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II out the car window

1/500 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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1/400 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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1/640 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400, evaluative metering

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1/400 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Sandhill’s in Love

These two Nebraska Sandhill Cranes were staying close together, which made for a good photo op.  They mate for life and put on quite a show with their mating dance, which I’ll share more photos of that ritual in my next post.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm  F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter out the car window

Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F5.6, evaluative metering, 700mm

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Reddish Chase

Here are a few more shots of Reddish Egrets from my last trip to Bolivar Flats in Texas during my FeatherFest field trip.  One Reddish Egret was fishing when another came in and started chasing him around.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II head

Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F9, ISO 500, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F9, ISO 500, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 500, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 500, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Galveston’s FeatherFest “Photographing Shorebirds” Field Trip

My second field trip that I led during Galveston’s FeatherFest this year was “Photographing Shorebirds at East Beach” on Galveston Island.  East Beach has been closed due to the recent oil spill near the Texas City dike.  Had received special permission to scout of the area the day before the trip to see how close that we could park the bus from the jetty.  Luckily, they fully opened the road and the beach on the day of field trip.  The beach looked great with no evidence of the oil spill.  Congrat’s to everyone that helped with the beach clean-up.  Job well done.

With another full class, we hit the beach near the jetty just before sunrise.  There were a few hundred Black Skimmers resting near the shoreline that made for some good photo op’s.  The sun finally popped over the clouds and give us some good silhouette opportunities.  Some local fisherman provided for some flight shots of the Skimmers at they spooked the birds several times.  I encouraged everyone to try some slow shutter speed shots as the birds were flying around.

The Gulf of Mexico was rough on the west side of the jetty with some heavy waves that would crash along the jetty, which made for some interesting photo op’s as a Willet was feeding along the top of the jetty.

Once the action started to lessen, decided to move on to plan B, which was the east end of the island, north of the jetty.  There were some shorebirds hanging out in some of the tidal pool areas.  Came across some Terns, Willets, Marbled Godwits and Avocets.  Tried to get close to the Avocets but they walked away to another group further towards the ship channel.  Wasn’t sure if we could get close to the main group but we gave it the old college try and it paid off.  We ended up walking down the trail and headed cross country and were able to get very close to the main group of Avocets.  One batch was feeding and the other was snoozing.  Some were in full breeding plumage with the darker feathers around their head.

After spending some time with the Avocets, made our way to plan C, which was where the shrimp boats come to dock behind the strand.  Last year, a shrimp boat came in right as we got there but no such luck this year.  We did get to see some Brown Pelicans and dolphins.

It turned out to be a successful outing and had a great time meeting another group of very nice photographers.  Thanks to everyone who attended.  Here are a few of my photos.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on tripod with Wimberley II gimbal head

Shutter priority, 1/6 sec @ F25, ISO 400, +1 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/8000 sec @ F4, ISO 400, evaluative metering

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Shutter priority, 1/15 sec @ F32, ISO 200, +1 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F4, ISO 400, evaluative metering

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Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F10, ISO 400, evaluative metering

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Galveston’s FeatherFest “Birds Eye View” Field Trip

Had a great time again this year leading workshops and field trips for Galveston’s FeatherFest.  Friday’s field trip was to Bolivar Flats, my home away from home in the world of bird photography, to work on low-level photography “at a bird’s-eye view”.  We had a full class as this trip sold out early.  We left at 6:00 a.m. and got to the flats about 7:00 a.m. and were met with low tide, wind and partly sunny sky’s with lots of clouds mixed in.  Made for some challenging lighting conditions with the sun popping in/out periodically.

We started by taking some silhouette shots of Willets and moved on to some Marbled Godwits and Terns.  Several groups of Brown Pelicans made for some good flight shots.  It was a target rich environment.  There were large flocks of Terns near the jetty that would launch periodically but we couldn’t see any Avocets.  Ended up scouting the area further down the shoreline to try to find some other photo op’s.  Still no Avocets but did spot a couple of American Oystercatchers.  However, they took off before the group could get there.

We did get a nice surprise when a Reddish Egret landed right in front of us and started dancing around while fishing.  He arrived right on time and was worth the price that I had to pay his agent 😉  He caught two fish with the last one being a good size catch.  Another Reddish Egret then showed up and they chased each other around and put on quite a show.  When it was time to leave, a few of the ladies didn’t want to go, which was a good sign that they were having a good time.

Ended up being a great outing with everyone getting an opportunity to see lots of shorebirds.  Had much better luck with the tide/number of birds compared to last year.  The participants got covered in sand/salt water as seen in the group photo.  Thanks to everyone that attended this year and to Phil for helping out.  I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.

My photos were taken with a Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400. evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400. evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400. evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400. evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/800 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400. evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Aperture priority, 1/400 sec @ F11, ISO 400. evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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Sandhill Wingspan

Spent several hours driving the dirt roads paralleling the Platt River in Nebraska where the Sandhill Cranes were feeding in the surrounding corn fields.  With about 175,000 Sandhills in the area, there were plenty of photo op’s.  This one had his full wingspan on display.  Had some clouds which ended up being a blessing with the color in his feathers coming out.  This nearly full framed shot is one of my favorites.  Taken handheld out the car window.  Some were too close and I should have taken off the teleconverter but didn’t want to take the time to do it.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter, handheld

1/400 Sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation.

 

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Sandhill Crane Migration

I’ve always heard about the great photo op’s of Sandhill Cranes in New Mexico in Nov/Dec but never much about the migration back to the great white north in the spring in Nebraska.  From Feb through April, 80% of the Sandhill Cranes in the world migrate through Nebraska and forage along the Platt River between Grand Island and Lexington, Nebraska.  They feed on the waste grain in the corn fields to increase their body weight by about 20% before heading north to breed.  They migrate to Canada, Alaska and even as far as Siberia based on tracking devices placed on some of the birds in Nebraska.

From seeing thousands of Sandhill’s feeding and dancing in the corn fields to tens of thousands of them landing and taking off from the river, it was an amazing time to be in Nebraska.  The sights and sounds were incredible.  More photos to follow.  I’ll have to figure out how to post a video so that you can hear them talking off at sunrise.

Taken with Canon 7D and  Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens and 1.4x III teleconverter

1/640 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400, evaluative metering, handheld out the car window

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1/400 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, handheld out the car window

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1/250 sec @ F10, ISO 800, evaluative metering

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Leggy Reflection

This group of Avocets were showing off their legs and reflections at Bolivar Flats.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II head

1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Silent Scream

This Great Horned Owl chick was intently tracking something and trying to scream but to no avail.  Nary a peek could be heard.  Silence can be golden or deadly, if you are trying to call momma back to the nest.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on tripod with Wimberley II head, 580 EX II flash with better beamer

1/160 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, fill flash at -3 stops

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Great Horned Owl Chick

With being in a major rut lately due to no photography, decided around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning (jet lag + normal brain damage) to head out to Brazos Bend State Park.  My normal modus operandi would have kept me home with cloudy weather and the chance for rain but I really needed to get out and shoot for my own sanity.  Encountered some light rain on the hour drive to the park but blew it off as scattered early morning fog/dew/wet stuff, anything but rain.  Of course I believed the weather channel’s radar, at 3:00 a.m.  Needless to say, turned out not to be a bright sunny day.

Got there about 1/2 hr before sunrise, which was a little too early on a cloudy day.  Made my way around 40 acre lake when it started to sprinkle.  Took off my jacket, covered the camera and kept on hiking.  Not much activity except some Coots and distant Great Egrets.  Headed back up the trail to find the owl nest after installing the 1.4x teleconverter.  Found a few decent photo op’s along the way including a Northern Shoveler and a Great Blue Heron building a nest in a tree. 

Got a little more rain as I neared the parking lot and decided to put my camera in the trunk to keep it dry.  Walked down the trail to find the owl’s nest.  Had to stop under a large tree to keep out of the rain when it started to come down with more intensity.  Finally spotted the nest and started to walk back to get my camera when I turned around and saw the chick staring at me.  Began to wonder if momma was in the nest or ready to attack from another tree.  Got my gear and confirmed that the parent wasn’t in the nest, which provided some cool photo op’s of the chick.  He was very attentive and would watch everyone that came walking by, including a few nearby squirrels. 

Sandy showed up and we had a good talk while waiting for the mother to come back.  Saw a glimpse of her flying back into the tree but she didn’t return to the nest.  She ended up falling asleep in the tree so I headed home.  A potentially crappy day turned out to be a good one.  A very cool experience was had by all, well at least me.  Thanks again Doug for the tips about the owl.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on tripod with Wimberley II head

1/160 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, fill flash with better beamer at – 3 stops

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1/320 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, fill flash with better beamer at – 3 stops

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Willet Catches a Fish

I’ve seen a few Willets catching fish but it’s fairly rare from my experience.  Got some nice side lighting at sunrise on this shot along with an open beak as he was facing in my direction.  Bolivar Flats rarely fails to provide some good photo op’s.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/640 sec @ F5.6, ISO 500, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Avocet with Breeding Plumage

My day job and non-cooperative weather has kept me away from photography lately so it’s time to dig into the archives.  Found this Avocet that was coming into his breeding plumage at Bryan Beach, TX last summer.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II head

1/500 sec @ F4, ISO 500, evaluative metering

 

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Head-on Skimmer

The normal flight path of Black Skimmers at Bolivar Flats is parallel with the shore line.  Got lucky with this one as he was flying directly at me.  My 7D did a good job of tracking the focus.  Had to crank the ISO up to 800 to get the shutter speed above 1/100 sec.  Taken just before sunrise while lying on a sand bar with my gound pod.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/160 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Willet Posing

This Willet was giving me his best head-on pose with some good eye contact.  Had to use a little negative exposure compensation after the histogram showed some over exposed “blinkies” on his chest.

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

1/500 sec @ F9, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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Skimmer Catching Fish

Skimmers are always fun to watch as they fly along the water trying to catch fish.  The challenge is to be at the right place at the right time when they actually catch a fish.  Caught this one as he was going away from me.  This photo highlights the narrow depth of field of the 500mm lens with the band of water in focus.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

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Willet vs. Crab

The Willet won.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II

1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Avocet Halo Affect

One way to get action shots of shorebirds is to shoot a burst of shots when their head starts going towards the water. You can catch some interesting splashing photos. In this case, the Avocet ended up with a water “halo” around his head.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/500 sec @ F11, ISO 500, evaluative metering, – 1/3 exposure compensation

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1/400 sec @ F11, ISO 500, evaluative metering, – 1/3 exposure compensation

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Flock O’ Snowy’s

My first trip in 2014 led me back to my favorite location, Bolivar Flats.  Along the gulf coast, Bolivar is a premier location for shorebird photography, especially if you like to get down and dirty with a ground pod.  The tide was going out at sunrise with several exposed sandbars.

My favorite targets, American Avocets, were all bunched up near the jetty behind a group of white pelicans.  Didn’t want to spook the pelicans while trying to get to the Avocets so decided to divert to a favorite spot closer to the shoreline around the bend.  This area is usually very muddy and it didn’t disappoint.  Laid down to see what would come my way when a flock of Snowy Egrets flew in to feed further away from me.  Didn’t want to scare them away with standing up and contemplated the best way to get to them.  The terrain looked almost like a moonscape with holes in the muck like craters filled with water and higher flat areas like plateaus.  Decided that crawling wasn’t a great idea so ended up walking on my knees using my flash bracket as a cane for balance.  Went about 30 yards and laid down again to shoot and rest.  The muck was smoothed out at this point and then belly crawled the rest of the way.  The muck was so slick I was almost gliding.  Got fairly close to the flock and a single Snowy off to the left feeding.  Was getting some decent shots when the flock suddenly flew away.  Looked to my right and another photographer had walked up along the shoreline and spooked the birds.  Goes with the territory sometimes.  Stayed put and some of the birds came back to finish off the session.

When I got up, I couldn’t see the camo pattern on my waders as the mud/muck was caked on so thick.  Good times.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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1/800 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

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1/1250 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

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Long Billed Curlew in Silhouette

Here are a couple more silhouette shots from Bolivar Flats.  This time, Long Billed Curlew’s.  Just can’t resist silhouette shots before the sun comes up.  A guilty pleasure of mine.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head.

1/125 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 2/3 exposure compensation

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1/125 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 2/3 exposure compensation

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Skimming into 2014

My last outing in 2013 was filled with silhouettes of Black Skimmers on the Gulf of Mexico at Bolivar Flats.  Calm winds and calm water had the skimmers out in force.  Took these before the sun came up in aperture priority with ISO cranked up to 800 to get some decent shutter speeds.

It was a great ending to 2013.  It has been a very challenging and rewarding year for me.  Photography highlights included a great trip to California to photograph sea otters, leading workshops at Galveston’s FeatherFest, teaching private lessons, getting some future opportunities and spending quality time in nature along the gulf coast.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out my blog.  Hope that everyone has a fun/safe new year and a great 2014.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II head

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

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1/640 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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1/640 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Strutting Avocets

These Avocets were strutting their stuff along the gulf coast.  Used negative exposure compensation to keep the white highlights from blowing out after checking for “blinkies”, i.e. flashing highlights.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II gimbal head

1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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1/640 sec @ F11, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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