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Posts tagged “Canon 7D

Avocet Posing

Found almost perfect conditions yesterday along the gulf coast with low tide, 36 deg F temperature, calm winds and sunshine.  Was hoping for still as glass water but it wasn’t quite there.  Found several flocks of American Avocets just off shore.  Good opportunity to try out my repaired camera by getting sand all over it.  Was successful at that, along with getting very close to some Avocets.  Laid down on a sandbar with water on both sides of me and waited for the Avocets to walk closer.  Got some shots looking towards the gulf and remembered one of my golden rules, look behind you.  Turned around and found several Avocets walking in the water right behind me.  Slowly pivoted on my stomach and got lots of close-up shots as they kept walking in front of me along the narrow stretch of water between my sand bar and the next one.  Can’t wait to go out again.

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

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

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Blurred Wings over Waves

Caught these Black Skimmers as they went behind some waves in the Gulf of Mexico.

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

1/80 sec @ F5.6, ISO 500, +2/3 exposure compensation

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7D Repaired/Returned

Got may camera back today via my friends at Fed Ex.  Here is what Canon said about the repairs:  “Your product has been examined and it was found that the internal component was broken causing the error to be displayed.  The mirror box assembly and shutter assembly were replaced.  Further, it was found that the top cover assembly has been submerged in liquid causing one or more buttons or controls to operate improperly.  The top cover was replaced.  Product functions were confirmed”.

To clarify, it wasn’t submerged in liquid but probably had some salt water dripped on it on a few/many occasions, for some odd reason.  They replaced the back cover last time it was repaired so I’ve almost got a new camera at this point.  I use a raincoat to protect the lens but the camera isn’t totally covered and it’s easy to have water drip off of my sleeves when I get up from lying on the water laden sand bars.

Now I have to reprogram all of the custom function settings.  Good thing that I wrote them down.

While waiting for my camera to return, I ended up upgrading to Photoshop CC/Lightroom while the special deal was on for $10/month.  Haven’t tried Lightroom yet but I like Photoshop CC so far.  Also got the NIK software package since my old version of Noise Ninja wouldn’t work with Photoshop CC.  I really like NIK Dfine for noise reduction.  Color Efex Pro 4 looks very interesting as well.  New toys to play with.

Here is another photo of a Long Billed Curlew from my last outing to Bolivar.  More to come.

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

1/200 sec @ F 9, ISO 500, evaluative metering, + 1/3 exposure compensation

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Success + Camera Failure

Spent Friday and Saturday mornings enjoying low tide at Bolivar Flats.  It was a nice chilly 38 deg. F on Friday at sunrise but the high winds kept the bird activity low.  Saturday had less wind and more cooperative birds.  Found a flock of Avocets hanging out near a sand bar off shore in the Gulf.  Waded out to an adjacent sandbar and slowly made my way towards them.  Didn’t want to spook them so I laid down a distance from their location and crawled towards them while pushing my ground pod along.  Ended up moving +/- 40 yards on my elbows/knees, which I’m still feeling today.  Had to stop along the way to rest and take photos of other shore birds in the area, including this cooperative Long Billed Curlew.  Only minor cropping on this one to get him off-center in the photo.

Finally got fairly close to the Avocets and spent about an hour watching and taking photos of them.  Right before I was going to leave, my camera locked up showing ERR 22 with instructions to remove/reinstall the battery.  Did this several times without any luck.  Packed my gear up and headed home.  Ended up shipping my 7D to Canon repair service in California.  Will hopefully get it back soon as I’ve got more birds to shoot before the year is done.  This one doesn’t sound like a shutter so not sure what the issue is.

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

1/125 sec @ F 7.1, ISO 500, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Stop! said the Avocet

This Avocet appears to be yelling at the waves to stop them from coming in.  Didn’t work but added some interest to the shot.

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

1/250 sec @ F8, ISO 500, evaluative metering, + 1/3 exposure compensation, fill flash with better beamer set at -3 stops

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Avocet just Chillin

The last few weeks have been a challenge so it was good to get out again to take some shorebird photos, although the alignment of the stars must have been off yesterday.

While driving to Galveston, an electronic sign along the interstate showed that the ferry to Bolivar was going to be shutdown from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., which meant that I could get to Bolivar but couldn’t return on the ferry.  A two-hour drive home going around Galveston Bay was the alternative.  Turning around wasn’t an option as it was going to be low tide at Bolivar and the shorebirds were calling.  Although I had spent quite a bit of time the night before getting prepared for this excursion, I decided at the last moment in my infinite wisdom not to take my camera bag.  It’s too small to hold my 500mm lens when the 1.4x is attached.  Bad decision as my supply of CF memory cards were in that bag.  Luckily there was one 32 gig card in my camera that was enough to get me through the mornings shoot.  Arrived at Bolivar before sunrise and geared up.  Another glitch in the system was a hole in my rubber boot.  Beginning to wonder if someone was trying to give me a major hint.  Ended up ignoring the pending signs of doom and had a good time with capturing photos of Avocets, Willets, Marbled Godwits and Snowy Egrets.

There were hundreds if not a few thousand Avocets feeding just off shore.  This lone Avocet landed nearby just after sunrise and rested on one leg with its beak nestled in his feathers.  Got close to him by crawling on hands and knees and got this nearly full framed shot.  He kept his eye on me but didn’t spook.

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

Aperture priority, 1/500 sec @ F8, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Northern Harrier

Found this Northern Harrier at Bolivar Flats while taking shorebird photos.   Tracked him from my prone position as he flew along the shoreline for a good series of shots.  This photo is my favorite pose but sometimes you can’t control the backgrounds.

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

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Reddish Egret Stare Down

Here are a couple of Reddish Egret photo’s from last weekend at Bolivar Flats.  Found this bird while walking along the beach back to my car.  Wasn’t really in the mood to lay down again as my neck was hurting but am glad that I did.  He was waiting patiently for fish to swim by with his neck retracted close to his body.  He stuck it out a couple of times which made for a more interesting photo.  In the first shot, he was probably wondering who the idiot was lying on the ground taking his picture.  That would be me…

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

1/400 sec @ F10, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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1/400 sec @ F10, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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All Shook Up

It felt like going home again when visiting Bolivar Flats last weekend.  My favorite place to take shorebird photos, it has been almost 6 months since my last visit in April when leading a workshop at Galveston’s Featherfest.  The weather, tide and my schedule finally cooperated, so it was off to Bolivar.

Saw the usual suspects including a reddish egret, great blue heron, white pelicans, avocets, sanderlings, snowy egret, etc.  This Long Billed Curlew got his feathers ruffled, but not at my presence.  He didn’t see me while I was lying down with the ground pod shooting away as he walked back and forth in front of me.  This was very close to a full framed shot with using my teleconverter to get some extra reach.  The sun was behind the clouds at sunrise but eventually peaked out.

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

1/400 sec @ F9, ISO 500, evaluative metering, 700mm

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Nearly Head-on Crash with Sandhill Cranes

My goal is always to get up close and personal with wildlife but this encounter was a little too close for comfort.

While taking my usual early morning tour of the Indiana countryside while on vacation, I rounded a corner while looking off to the left in a large field to see if any Sandhills were waiting for me.  No luck on the left but suddenly caught a glimpse of something coming quickly from my right and three Sandhill cranes were flying right in front of my car.  I locked up the brakes on the dirt road and missed them by a couple of feet at most.  My reflexes are apparently still in tact as I was able to quickly hit the brakes and grab my camera on the seat at the same time to keep it from crashing into the dashboard.  My life didn’t flash before my eyes but what did was the thought of  having to tell my dad that I wrecked his car after getting hit by some very large birds.  Luckily, that didn’t happen.

They were hanging out in the ditch on the right side of the road and darted in front of me.  Apparently the family truckster, aka SUV, wasn’t very intimidating as they landed just on the other side of the road to my left.  Grabbed my camera and started shooting.  They were too close at 700mm so ended up taking off the teleconverter after several close-up’s.  They gradually walked further away and were the subjects for my previous silhouette post once the sun poked through the fog.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens with 1.4x III teleconverter, handheld out the car window.

1/320 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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

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Sandhill Silhouettes

With some early morning fog and backlighting, these Sandhill Cranes were made for silhouettes.  Since I’m a major fan of wildlife silhouettes, didn’t take much arm twisting to get me to take advantage of the opportunity.  Used negative exposure compensation to darken the scene and enhance the shot.  Taken handheld out the car window.

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

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

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

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Sandhill Cranes in Indiana

Made a trip home to north eastern Indiana recently to visit family.  It was later in the year than we usually go so wasn’t sure what to expect from a wildlife photography perspective.  Was pleasantly surprised with the abundance of Sandhill Cranes that were near Mongo, IN.  Went out several mornings at sunrise to find them.  It was down to 37 deg F in the mornings, which felt great.  Such a nice change from the Houston heat.

This was my first trip home with my 500mm lens.  Had to drag it around the week before while on a business trip before heading to Indiana.  It was worth the effort as I needed the extra reach with most of the shots.  Didn’t have room in my suitcase for my tripod so had to handhold it.

Got a little too up close and personal with the Sandhill’s as I almost hit three of them with my car.  More on that later…

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens, handheld

1/20 sec @ F4, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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1/125 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering

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Anhinga in Silhouette

On my last trip to Brazos Bend State park a few weeks ago, there was very little bird action except for this one lone Anhinga at Elm Lake.  He was drying out in their typical wings out pose.  Walked behind him and had to move off of the trail to try to get a full framed shot with my 500mm lens.  With the sun directly behind him, I backed up as far as I could go up against a tree to get this shot.  Didn’t want to go any further off the trail with the abundant local alligator population.  Used negative exposure compensation to enhance the silhouette.

Just got back from vacation and had some decent luck with Sandhill Cranes, which I’ll post later.  Still going through a few thousand photos.

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

1/3200 sec @ F4, ISO 100, evaluative metering, -2 exposure compensation

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Skimmers in Action

Here are a few more action shots of Skimmers trying to catch fish.  Easier said than done sometimes.

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

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Avocet Dipped in Chocolate?

It looks a little like chocolate on his foot but I’m sure that it doesn’t taste like it.  Just a little stuck in the mud but a nice pose none the less.

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, -2/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Down the Hatch

It can be a challenge to get close to Black Crowned Night Herons.  Got a bonus on this trip to Bryan Beach, TX with seeing three BCNH’s at eye level with this one eating breakfast.  Unlike my previous post with the Tern that couldn’t swallow the fish, this BCNH had no problem swallowing it whole.  I was able to get fairly close using my ground pod as he was too preoccupied with feeding.  Apparently he was really hungry as he kept fishing after chugging this one.

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

1/640 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation, 500mm

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1/500 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, 500mm

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The Hunt

It’s always interesting to watch Black Skimmers flying with their beaks skimming in the water.  What’s more fun is to try to capture the action when they try to catch a fish.  They will be flying along and all of a sudden their head will snap down when they feel a fish hit their beak.  Grabbing the fish can be another story.  Good times.

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

1/640 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400, evaluative metering, 500mm

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The Splash

This Skimmer was hunting for its prey and ended up splashing water up over his head which was an added bonus on this shot.

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

1/400 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400, evaluative metering, no flash, 500mm

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Avocets Filling the Frame

Being close enough to Avocets where they fill the frame doesn’t happen to me often enough but it’s very cool when it does.  It helped on this trip to have my 1.4X teleconverter installed along with my flash.  Had to crank up the ISO to 800 since the clouds were out at sunrise.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens and 1.4X III teleconverter mounted on Skimmer ground pod with Wimberley II head, fill flash using 580 EX II w/better beamer

1/320 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, fill flash at – 3 stops, 700mm

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1/400 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, fill flash at – 3 stops, 700mm

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Skimmer going away…

I’ve got tons of bird “butt shots” but this is one of my favorites from a recent trip to Bryan Beach.  As well as getting photos of Black Skimmers coming towards me, I was able to get some as they were heading away.  This one stood out with the tail feathers in the “flaps down” position and his beak just barely in the water.

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

1/320 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, 500mm

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Reddish Egret Landing

While taking Skimmer photos, this Reddish Egret came in for a landing right in front of me.  There were 4 of them that flew in together and this one made the most dramatic landing in decent light.

1/1250 sec @ F4, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

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Spoonbill Fishing

A couple of Spoonbills were wondering around the pond at Bryan Beach on one of my recent trips.  Took the opportunity to get some shots of them fishing.  My usual Spoonbill photos aren’t water shots so this was a nice change of pace.  The shape of the bills work very well for fishing along the bottom of the pond.  My first photos of them actually catching fish.

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

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1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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1/800 sec @ F9, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -1/3 exposure compensation

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Scaring Fish Out of the Water

This Skimmer was doing such a good job fishing that the fish were jumping out of the water as he was flying around.

 

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

1/250 sec @ F8, ISO 400, evaluative metering

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Avocet Posing

My goal for the last trip to Bryan Beach near Freeport, TX was to concentrate on Avocet shots as some of them are in full breeding plumage.  Of course, when David and I got into position near the pond, most of the Avocets were on the other end.  After getting some Skimmer shots, ended up moving to the other end in search of the elusive Avocets.  Ended up doing the old belly crawl to get close to them, which is always fun in the stinky muck around that pond.  Well worth the effort to get close to these guys.  The interesting part was after getting in to position, I felt something started crawling under my stomach.  Likely a small crab but I wasn’t about to move at that point so was glad that it didn’t bite.

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

1/640 sec @ F9, ISO 400, evaluative metering, -2/3 exposure compensation

Bryan Beach_07907132013-2