Fun Friday: One in Every Crowd

A few days ago, I decided to check the nearby woodland area where I always find lots of spring wildflowers. As expected, I found tons of Virginia Bluebell plants all over the woods. Most had clusters of buds, but out of the entire woodlands, I only found a single bluebell in bloom:

Virginia Bluebells

This morning, I’ll be returning to the woodlands to check on the progress of the bluebells. When I was hiking the woodlands earlier this week, I found tons of False Rue Anemones blooming and lots of Trout Lily (aka, Dog-toothed Violet) leaves poking through the leaf litter. They should be starting to bloom very shortly, too. Once I find sufficient blooms of the woodland wildflowers, I will again offer my half-day “Woodland Wildflower Workshops” to those in the area. Watch this blog for more information.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 Tripod with Ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Fun Friday post, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Nemesis Bird

During my recent trip to the Texas’ Gulf Coast, I was finally able to capture a few images of one of my nemesis birds … the Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway). At the time this bird flew over, I was photographing other birds at the Leonabelle Turner Birding Center in Port Aransas. Fortunately, I looked up in time to see this colorful raptor and capture a few images before it flew out of sight. Here are a couple of images I captured:

Crested Caracara in flight

Crested Caracara in flight

A very colorful and beautiful bird!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Little Pink Bells

From a little over a week ago, after we had a snowfall, I found these cute little pink, bell-shaped flowers in one of our wildflower gardens. They resemble the blue harebell wildflowers a lot, but I’m pretty sure these are not wildflowers. My wife planted a lot of non-natives in the area, mostly iris and lillies, but I think she probably planted these early bloomers, too. They are growing about 18″ tall. If anyone knows what they are, please let me know :o)

Pink Bell-shaped spring flowers

I then captured 16 images, varying the focus point, and later combined these images using the focus-stacking technique:
Pink Bell-shaped spring flowers

Even though these haven’t yet been identified, they sure were a cheerful sight after the late-spring snow!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with ballhead
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/400 sec.
  • Bottom image: a focus-stacked image, combining 16 images (processed in Helicon Focus)

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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More Signs of Spring

After the recent snowfall, I also found some early, woodland wildflowers growing around my rural property. The Virginia Bluebells had some small buds, still being covered by the leaves, trying to poke out:

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells

I then set up my camera on a tripod to capture some images for Focus-stacking:

Virginia Bluebells

This focus-stacked image was made by capturing 15 individual images, varying the point of focus in each image. Then I combined the 15 images into one image, using Helicon Focus software. The result, a nice image with nearly the entire plant in focus, while maintaining an out-of-focus background.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Top 2 images are Hand-held; Focus stacked image uses Bogen 3221 tripod with ballhead
  • ISO 500 (Focus-stacked image ISO 200)
  • Aperture: Top image f/11; Middle image f/16; Focus-stacked image f/3.5
  • Shutter: Top image 1/20 sec.; Middle image 1/10 sec.; Focus-stacked 1/320 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Almost Spring

… but not quite! A look at the calendar says that spring is only 5 days away. But yesterday’s snow puts that into question! After a morning of snow, I hiked around my rural Missouri land to see what photo opportunities existed. The snowfall was quite “trivial”, but with temperatures below freezing, it sure wasn’t melting quickly. After having found a lot of daffodils and even some early wildflowers with their heads peaking through the leaf litter a few days earlier, I was hoping to find some interesting shots. I wasn’t disappointed!

Here are a few images I captured early yesterday afternoon:

Daffodil with snow

Daffodil with snow

And I found a flower preparing to open, so I grabbed 28 images for “focus stacking”. After combining the 28 images, here is the resulting image:

Daffodil flower about to open

Coming up, a couple of images of some Virginia Bluebell wildflowers I found with buds, and snow, on them.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with ballhead
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. to 1/1250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Cormorant At Rest

When I visited the Leonabelle Birding Center (Port Aransas, Texas) a while back, I photographed a resting Double-crested Cormorant that was on the boardwalk at the birding center:

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On)
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. to 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: The Standoff

Today’s “Fun Friday” post comes from my recent trip to the Aransas NWR, along the Texas Gulf Coast, to photograph the wintering Whooping Cranes. As this adult crane was crabbing, he ran upon a blue crab that wasn’t ready for lunch. As the crane worked at dislodging the crab from the muddy bottom, the crab put up a fierce (but useless) standoff:

Whooping Crane and Blue Crab standoff

Shortly after this image was captured, the crane began dismembering the legs of the crab, then finished his meal.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Whoopers in Flight

(Note: Currently, I’m involved in a last-minute, 3-day project that came my way on Friday afternoon.  Likely will not be on social medial much for a couple of days. I’ll share info on this unique opportunity in a few days :o)  )

Today’s post features some Whooping Cranes in flight. One of the very distinct differences between Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes that I observed during my recent trip to the Texas’ Gulf Coast, is the social behavior. While Sandhill Cranes tend to group up in large groups, the Whooping Cranes stay in small, familial groups. This will usually consist of two adults and one juvenile.

At one point, a trio of Whooping Cranes flew into the area, landing ahead of us:

Whooping Cranes in Flight

As soon as this group landed, there was a loud, raspy “chatter” from our left. Looking over, there was a pair of adult whoopers along with their juvenile offspring, at a distance of 150-200 yards from the other group. Within seconds, the two adults and one juvenile took flight, directly towards the group that had just flown in, chasing them from the area:

Whooping Cranes in Flight

Whooping Cranes in Flight

Whooping Cranes in Flight

Quite an interesting display of behavior!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 500 and ISO 640
  • Aperture f/5.6 (all)
  • Shutter 1/1000 sec. to 1/3200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Muskrat on Steroids

Today’s “Fun Friday” post features a critter I had never seen before, only in books and field guides. The Nutria (Myocastor coypus), or “Coypu” is native to South America and the Caribbean; it was introduced in Louisiana in the 1930’s, for their fur. But they escaped from captivity during the hurricane floodings in the 1940’s. Multiplying profusely in the wild, their numbers skyrocketed. With the collapsing of the great fur industry in the 1980’s and 1990’s, their numbers increased even more. Today, they are often “pests”, undermining stream banks, depleting wild vegetation and raiding rice/other crops.

When I first saw this mammal swimming/crawling about the vegetation around the boardwalk, I thought it was a large muskrat. But once it could be clearly seen, it was obvious it was much larger than a muskrat. Nutria can reach 25 pounds in weight, making it look like “a muskrat on steroids” :o)

Here are a few of the images I captured during my short visit with the Nutria:

Nutria

Nutria

Nutria

Coming up, more posts of the target species of this trip, the endangered Whooping Cranes.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/80 sec. to 1/100 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Fun Friday post, Mammals, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Pied-billed Grebes

Another common bird at the Leonabelle Turnbell Birding Center (Port Aransas, TX) was the Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). Most were in their winter coats, with either a missing or indistinct ring around their bill. However, at least one was showing the ring quite well (note the ringed bill on the bottom image, below). Here are my favorite images I captured along the boardwalk:

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Coming up on my “Fun Friday” post, a rather unusual critter that was a “lifer” for me :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400 (top 4 images), ISO 200 (bottom 2 images)
  • Aperture f/6.3 (all images)
  • Shutter 1/320 sec. to 1/400 sec. (top 4 images), and Shutter 1/25 sec. to 1/100 sec. (bottom 2 images)

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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