…morning light is magic…

Posts tagged “Texas City Dike

Sliver of Sunrise

Took this shot at the Texas City dike on Sunday morning.  There was a small gap in the clouds as the sun started to come up.  Started to go negative on exposure compensation as the sun started to pop.  Really like how this one turned out.

Used my back-up 7D II as my 1DX is at Canon getting the shutter replaced after over 420,000 photos.  My back-up camera works better than my original 7D but it doesn’t compare to my 1DX at high ISO capability plus it feels so small without a battery grip.  Works well for a back-up but can’t wait until my 1DX returns.

Taken with Canon 7D II with Canon 500mm F4 IS II and 1.4XIII teleconverter, handheld out my car window

1/8000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 100, evaluative metering, – 2/3 exposure compensation

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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 Attacking Snowy Egret

Reddish Egrets are very territorial and will usually chase off other birds that invade their feeding area.  This Snowy egret got more than he bargained for when the Reddish Egret attacked.  He quickly dove at the Snowy and grabbed ahold of his tail feathers, swinging him around.  He then grabbed the Snow’s head with his beak pinning him in the water.  The Snowy ended up escaping and didn’t come back.

Made for some exciting shooting with 37 photos in 3 seconds.

Previewed the last photo at a presentation that I made at the Houston Audubon Nature Photography Association on Wed night, which was also a great time.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter and a beanbag out the car window.

Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation

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Reddish Egret Jackpot

It’s been a very good year for Reddish Egrets in SE Texas.  Hit the jackpot on Saturday morning at the Texas City Dike.  My original plan was to head to Bolivar Flats with low tide and almost calm winds.  Luckily, I wasn’t feeling Bolivar and decided to head to the Dike instead looking for Oystercatchers.  It was a bust for Oystercatchers, which turned out to be a very good thing for me.

This Reddish Egret more than made up for it while fishing in a tidal pool area.  Spent about 45 min taking tons of photos of him out my car window as he moved back and forth catching small fish with his wings outstretched.  Had to switch my position once when a family pulled up and unloaded their car near me.  Finally left after the action slowed down and my thumb was getting sore from using the rear focus button.

A Snowy Egret also showed up to catch fish in the same area but the Reddish Egret was having none of that and attacked the Snowy.  More on that in my next post.

I could tell that this was a good outing by how many photos that I took and ended up saving.  In order to reduce how many photos that I have to store, I’ll rate them using Photoshop, by either 3 or 5 stars, and then quickly delete the ones that aren’t rated.  I’ll consider processing some of the 5-star rated shots with only a handful actually being processed.  A typical outing for me results in 25 to 50 top rated photos.  This was a very good day with 334 top rated shots.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter, using a beanbag out the car window.

Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F9, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 1/3 exposure compensation, 700mm

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Oystercatcher Action

The goal of my trip to the Texas City Dike last weekend was to find Oystercatchers.  Didn’t find any in the usual spot so I kept driving down the 5 mile long dike looking along the rocks on the north side.  Got a glimpse of something white on a bird and pulled off of the road to check it out.  Found 4 Oystercatchers walking along the rocks.  They would jump/fly from rock to rock, which provided some nice photo op’s with outstretched wings.

Ended up following them for about 45 minutes until a 5th Oystercatcher flew in.  They then displayed “piping” behavior (last photo) for a few minutes and then all five flew off together.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter out the car window using a photography beanbag for support.

Aperture priority, 1/1600 sec @ F9, IS 1600, evaluative metering

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Aperture priority, 1/2000 sec @ F10, IS 1600, evaluative metering, +1/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F10, IS 800, evaluative metering, – 1/3 exposure compensation

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The Making of a Bird Silhouette

Spent last Sunday at sunrise hanging out at the Texas City Dike with tons of birds including Avocets, Black Skimmers, Black Crowned Night Herons and some very cooperative American Oystercatchers.  More on the Oystercatchers later.

While trying to find the Oystercatchers, came upon this Great Blue Heron standing on some rocks.  Thought that I could turn this into a decent shot but knew that the sun reflecting off of the water behind him was going to be a challenge.  From instinct, bumped up the exposure compensation to +1 as the camera’s light meter was going to automatically darken the scene due to the bright background.  Checked the histogram and saw that the bird still wasn’t properly exposed per the first photo below.  It was going to take a lot more positive exposure compensation to be the Heron looking good, which would have really blown out the background.

Instead, decided to turn this into a silhouette shot.  Backed my car up so that the sun reflection was directly behind him.  Lowered the ISO to 100, removed all exposure compensation and let the light meter in my camera automatically darken the scene as it was very bright.  Was very pleased with the result on the first try.  Checked my histogram expecting that a little negative exposure compensation could be needed but it wasn’t.  Another silhouette for my portfolio.

Used the back focus button on my camera to set the focus on the bird and then reframed the shot to get him in the right third of the photo.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter, hand-held out the car window using a camera bean bag

Original photo:  Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F8, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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 Silhouette photo:  Aperture priority, 1/1000 sec @ F10, ISO 100, evaluative metering, no exposure compensation

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Oystercatcher Feeding on ???

Here is another Oystercatcher shot from the Texas City dike.  He was feeding on a carcass of some kind but not sure what it was.  Got some nice wave action in the background.

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

1/640 @ F18, ISO 1600, Evaluative Metering, +1/3 exposure compensation 0151_Texas City Dike_09212014-2