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Posts tagged “Canon 7D

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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