Monday, November 23, 2015

Splish Splash

I heard the commotion and went to investigate.  Lo and behold I caught her taking a bath in plain view of anyone who cared to watch.  Fortunately, I was the only one around and low to the ground so as to not disturb.

Looking for Life

Walking through the woods scanning the trees for any signs of life. Suddenly, this hawk came in from behind me flying low overhead.  He landed in a tree just several yards from where I was so getting the shot was pretty easy this time.  Too bad I didn't hear him coming so I could have gotten an in-flight shot but these birds are silent fliers.  That said, here's one from a short time ago.

Young Buck

Walking through the woods at Sandy Ridge Reservation and happened upon this young buck.  He didn't seem too concerned and allowed a few photos to be taken but he didn't come out into the open either.  Still, it was nice to see him and grab a couple pics.  It's not often I see a buck in the wild compared to all the doe I come across.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Blowing in the Wind

When I was at Maumee Bay State Park the other day I came upon a large field of this tall, wild grass blowing in the wind and backlit by the early morning sun.  As usual, I was looking for wildlife but do try to stay open to other possibilities.  This is one of those.  Tall, wind-blown, graceful, golden.  Had to shoot it.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Eagles and Aerial Acrobatics

It seems the eagles were out it in force recently as I stopped in at Ottawa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge and the Toussaint State Wildlife Area.  The eagle above was sitting on a tree in front of the nest there and I was able to see its white head from far off so started walking in that direction.  There is more than one way to approach the nest and, of course, I had no way of knowing which way he was facing as he sat in the tree but knew my approach would be with the sun at my back.  If I was presented with a shot I didn't want a silhouette by shooting into the sun, nor did I want to crank up the exposure compensation to overcome that if it could be avoided.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Quick Thoughts for Better Photos

One of the things I strive for is to get a better shot of anything and everything than what I've done before.  Of course, this can encompass a whole litany of things to watch for and tweak and take into account from exposure to lighting to backgrounds to physical position to composition to post-processing get the idea.  

In this regard, one of the things I'm doing more and more of lately is to get physically lower to the ground when the subjects of my lens are low to the ground.  I brought this up in an earlier post here where I show the difference physical position makes in relation to the subject.  I'm liking the difference this lower perspective is making.  For one thing, both foreground and background have a more pronounced blur allowing the subject to "pop" better.  For another, it makes the photo just a little different from all the other photos that are shot standing up which necessarily entails shooting down on the subject.

For the two photos here I was squatting as low as I could get and it worked fine for the top image because the mallard was roughly at my eye level when I tripped the shutter which is what I was after.  I assumed the same position for the Green-winged Teal but, now as I'm looking at it on the screen, I wasn't low enough.  A better position would have been to go prone, I believe.  A quick measurement just now shows my eyes are about 31" from the ground when squatting as low as I can.  Next time, I'll go lower.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Happy Mistake - Behind the Shot

This was a young deer on the walking path at Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve.  She glanced my way as I approached but kept foraging nonetheless.  My hope was to be able to pass without spooking her and then turn to get a back lit shot. That part worked out just fine as you can see.  Of course, I didn't check the photo at the time and only noticed after getting home what I had inadvertently done.  The camera was set to DX crop mode from the day before and I obviously didn't notice the outlined frame in the veiwfinder that should have been a clue it was not in FF mode.  So, when the picture was taken I thought I included the whole head to shoulders and was surprised to see this instead.  Not being what I had expected I was ready to trash the photo when it hit me that I really liked it.  This shot is more artsy than what I had originally planned. Definitely a less is more moment.  A happy mistake.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bald Eagles - Behind the Shot

This morning started out with a lot of fog in the area and my wife cautioned me about it as I started downstairs to head out for some shutter therapy.  I was okay with fog and was not going to let it sidetrack my plans, which was to go to Sandy Ridge Reservation about 40 minutes away.  Sure enough, when I looked outside the fog was thick but I also noticed a clear sky which meant the sun would work its magic and clear the fog by the time I was ready to shoot when the park opened at 8am.  Besides, if the fog was still around maybe I could work it into a shot since it provides a lot of potential if utilized properly.

This was only my second time to Sandy Ridge (the first time was last week) but I was interested the potential of the place to house raptors for viewing and shooting.  After walking through a wooded area it opens up to a marsh where I saw these two eagles right away.  Ah, yes!  This is a good day.  The first order of business was to get the record shot and then move into a better position hoping they would stick around until I had the sun behind me.  After getting this and similar shots I simply hung out in my spot waiting and hoping for some kind of action when one of the eagles suddenly took off for a deeper spot in the marsh.  Anticipating the second one would soon follow suit I readied the lens on it and just as I was making sure I was focused on it he took off.  I snapped away but did not have a perfect focus on it.  Oh, well.  That's part of the fun and excitement - there's always a next time.

Eastern Bluebird - Behind the Shot

I photographed this little bird earlier today at Sandy Ridge Reservation.  I was actually shooting a couple bald eagles sitting in a tree when this bird perched in front of me as if to say, "I'm worth shooting too.  Take my picture".  I think it turned out really nice.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

In Sync - Behind the Shot

This is the adult non-mating Bonaparte's gull.  I had been a Lake Erie and it was teaming with birds so after several dozen shots I started looking for something unique when these two obliged.  I wish I had been in sync as much as they were but I just could not get focused fast enough for the shot.  Normally, I wouldn't have posted it because it is not perfectly focused, sharp and clear but the near perfect synchronization between the birds overruled my judgement this time.  Besides, much as I wish otherwise not all of my shots are perfectly focused, sharp and clear and I like some of them anyway. This is one of those.  

Clothed in Red

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hummingbirds - Behind the Shot

Hummingbirds are fascinating little creatures that are big on curiosity and entertainment.  We keep three feeders around the house and are rewarded each season with their playful antics.  They often come and go in a flash but will also sit to feed or just hover for a moment before disappearing.