Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Another First - A Pansy

Nikon D750, Nikkor 300mm f/4e, 1/250, f/4, ISO 100
This is the first flower of the season I've photographed.  As I was looking in the backyard this morning the flower caught my eye but its back was to me so I wasn't sure just what it was.  Once I went out for a look I knew it needed its picture taken.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Lot of "Firsts"

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6e @ 500mm, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 220

As I stated here the warblers are starting to show up at Magee Marsh and this Palm Warbler is a first for me.  I'm fairly new to the birding scene so I'll have a lot of "firsts", no doubt.  I was not able to make the Magee scene of the Biggest Week in American Birding at all last May so am very much looking forward to it this year...which will be another "first" for me.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6e @ 500mm, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 125

Monday, April 25, 2016

Close Up - Yellow-rump Warbler

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm @ 500mm, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 560

Magee Marsh in Oak Harbor, Ohio is internationally known for its spring migration of warblers and they're starting to show up now.  This is a photo of a Yellow-rump Warbler I took this last weekend while there.  These particular birds were plentiful but that doesn't make them easy to shoot as they are small and always on the move.  I am particularly delighted with this shot because of the catch light in the eye which is so important when photographing birds.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm @ 500mm, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 250

In this shot I didn't get the catch light but there is a hint of light at the lower right edge of the eye.  The reason for showing it is that it shows off the yellow rump for which the bird is named.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Little Experiment - This Was Just a Test

700mm, 1/400, f/8, ISO 200, Handheld
Somebody asked me on the Birding Ohio FB page the other day if the 200-500mm lens was adequate most of the time in relation to this image. Then he mentioned he sees a lot of people that want the 60x and 80x cameras that we can't get in a DSLR.  Here was my answer, 

"I think regardless of how many mm one has we always want more when shooting birds. Sometimes I pair the lens with my Nikon D7000 which gives the 35mm equivalent of 750mm fov but I prefer the D750 so much more that maybe that's my answer to you. I make the 500mm be adequate. And sometimes when I have to have more I'll pair the lens with the TC-14E II which gives me 700mm on the full-frame camera. About those 60 and 80x cameras, they generally have a smaller sensor which can start eating into image quality pretty quickly unless one is very careful about its use. That's about all I can say about those, though, because I have no practical experience with them. I hope this helps." 

He replied back saying he uses a Panasonic Z1000 the most but then added, "I think you nailed it with, "I make it be adequate."  So many people just keep after the next great thing and forget about the basics of quality."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Winter Wren

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6e @ 500mm, 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 1250
Winter finally released its hold and Spring is making its presence known to human and animal alike.  We've had a lot of rain and are experiencing warmer temperatures.  The grass is growing, flowers are blooming and trees are budding.  And, of course, the animals are coming out of hibernation and birds are migrating once again.  The image above is of a Winter Wren from Magee Marsh this last weekend.  This little bird is tough to spot and tougher to shoot because it spends a lot of time on the ground under logs and such and never stops moving.  And it is quick.  But it made for a fun (and, truth be told, frustrating) challenge.  In the end, patience and persistance paid off.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sandhill Crane at Sunset - Behind the Shot

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6e @ 500mm, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 1600

Recently, I worked in Whitmore Lake, Mi and stayed in Brighton, Mi nearby for the main purpose of hoping to visit Kensington Metropark at some point during my stay.  I had learned the Great Blue Herons were busy with nesting activities and an Osprey pair were back and busy with the same which I wrote about here and here.  

One night after work I rushed over there having about an hour before sunset.  It had been cold and raining most of the day but there were now peeks of sunshine here and there between the cloud cover.  As I was trying to shoot the Herons and Egrets going about their activities I realized pretty quickly I'd have to move from the boardwalk because that had me shooting into the direction of the sun which silhouetted the birds.  As I was moving toward the woods south and west of the boardwalk to take up a different position two Sandhill Cranes were walking toward me on the narrow path.  I stopped briefly to check the position of the sun and amount of cloud cover and while doing so the cranes walked right passed me.  I ignored them photographically because the sun was hidden by clouds so the light was just not interesting.  As I moved on just a few steps there was a break in the clouds that allowed the sun to shine thru so I turned to check the cranes and got a few shots with nice light on them.  These are a couple of those shots.  Note how they are facing west by the shadow cast which puts the sun at my back.  Now was the time to trip the shutter.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6e @ 500mm, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 1600

Friday, April 8, 2016

Osprey - Him on Her - Not

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6e @ 500mm, 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 800

This series will show the behavior I mentioned in this post that helped me identify which bird was male and female.  It happened quick.  The timestamp has the first photo pegged at 8:32:24 and the last at 8:32:25 on April 2, 2016.  When I began saving the images as jpeg so they could be shown here I thought the maybe the first three didn't belong in this series but when I checked the time out of curiosity they undoubtedly belong.  So the male comes in full-frontal and face-on to the female then does an abrupt 180 and lands on her back.  It appeared that he slipped off and nothing more happened as I watched it occur.  So I don't know if this was play or a botched attempt at mating or something else altogether but it was interesting to witness and I'm glad to have the images of it.  

All of these images were shot with the same equipment and settings as mentioned under the first photo.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Nesting Osprey

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6e @ 500mm, 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 800
I was able to spend a little time at Kensington Metropark in Michigan recently and was treated to an Osprey pair building up and reinforcing their nest.  The photo above shows the two at rest and is the full view thru a 500mm lens.  The images that come after are cropped for a closer view and show one of the Osprey (I'm sure it's the male because right after this series I have another of him on top of the female) bringing a stick to the nest.  I've shown them in the order in which they were taken.  Do remember to click the images for a larger view.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Taking for Granted the Common

Nikon D600, Nikkor 300mm f/4 @ f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 100

We see them all the time and yet we don't "see" them at all.  They're everywhere you look and yet, invisible.  They frequent our yards and trees every day throughout the season.  They nest and raise their young in our bushes.  We wake up and go to sleep with their song ringing in our ears.  After a time, some even want them to just be quite so they can sleep.  We ignore them photographically  because they're too common and yet, they can be quite striking in appearance.  And, they usually let us get within a few feet of them before hopping away just enough to maintain that "safe" personal space.  They're taken for granted probably like no other.  They're the American Robin.

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 300mm f/4 + TC-14II @ 630mm, 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 280

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 400mm, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400

I spent this last Saturday at Magee Marsh and Ottawa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge having arrived about 08:30 and didn't head for home until 17:00.  The temp was 28 degrees when I got there and warmed all the way up to about 43.  I started off at Magee Marsh and spent the first few hours there.  It's certainly not even close to being green yet but many of the trees and plants do contain signs of Spring.  It seems there are branches and twigs everywhere you look so getting a clean shot of any bird is quite a challenge and longer focal lengths certainly help isolate the subject but cropping in post is almost a must.