Fun Friday: What? Me?

While looking for a good, Fun Friday post for today, I ran across this interesting Bald Eagle image. He has such a comical look on his face … like he got caught with his hands in the cookie jar!

Bald Eagle and reflection

I just love capturing animal behaviors and facial expressions that seem to emulate those of humans!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 540mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 640
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
3 Comments

Young Adult or Old Teen?

What do you call a “tweener”? This Bald Eagle was photographed in the Chilkat River Valley of Alaska, a few winters ago. As you can see from his salt-and-pepper head, this bird is in transition from being a juvenile eagle to becoming an adult eagle:

Bald Eagle

Today’s post is unusually short. I conducted a one night photography class in “Low Light Photography” last night, then hustled home to watch the conclusion of the World Series, between our Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants. Although the outcome was not what we were hoping for, it was a great game and the conclusion of a solid year of baseball where the young Royals team, like the above bald eagle, is transitioning into a mature, solid team of the future!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 540mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 3200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/400 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Who Said It Never Snows in Heaven!

Some more wintry images from Alaska’s Chilkat River Valley, along the Inside Passage. At such a gorgeous place, it would seem to be Heaven on Earth … then snow hits!

It can be awfully cold and snowy conditions can make it difficult to watch all the action, but well worth the effort! In these first two images, the eagles are busy saving energy by perching in the trees:

Bald Eagles in the snowy landscape

Bald Eagles in the snowy landscape

And this pair of adult bald eagles seem to be patiently waiting for the snow to stop falling:

Bald Eagles in the snowy landscape

One daring soul decided to fly around the valley, despite the heavy snow falling:

Bald Eagle soaring in the heavy snowfall

Shooting in snowy conditions is not what a lot of people prefer to do. But these interesting conditions do make for some outstanding photo opps!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 140mm to 540mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 3200 (#1, #3, #4) and ISO 800 (Photo #2)
  • Aperture f/7.1 to f/9
  • Shutter 1/125 sec. to 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Landing Gears Down

As I continue to edit some older images captured in the Chilkat River Valley in 2008, I ran across a sequence of images of an adult Bald Eagle preparing to land in the snow:

Bald Eagle preparing to land

Bald Eagle preparing to land

Bald Eagle preparing to land

This sequence was captured along the Chilkat River. As I vividly recall, the temperature that day rose to a sweltering 9F! And plenty of snow falling at times, and a nice blanket on the ground. I’ll have some more snowy eagle images ready to share soon.¬† :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 460mm to 540 mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Snow Bird

Today’s post includes some images not previously published, from a 2008 trip to the Chilkat River Valley, just outside Haines, Alaska, along the Alaska Inside Passage. This trip was to photograph Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalis) as they foraged among the last of the salmon during the late salmon run in the Chilkat River.

This bald eagle had pulled off a chunk of a salmon (the salmon are much too large for the eagles to carry the whole fish) and had flown to a nearby dead tree that was covered with fresh snow:

Adult Bald Eagle

Adult Bald Eagle

Adult

Really miss not being there the last few years. So much so that I’ll likely travel back to the Chilkat River Valley next year!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 460mm to 540 mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 1600
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/80 sec. to 1/125 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 Comments

Backlit Beauty

On my last visit to the local Missouri prairie, there was not much wildflower activity. A few blooms here and there, but most plants are going to seed and browning up. However, I found this interesting orb spider web at the edge of the woods. It is a web built by an Arboreal Orb Weaver spider (that’s the owner, in the middle of the web). The web was backlit by the sun, making the web really stand out against the dark background, caused by the heavy woods:

Orb Spider web

Orb spider webs are always fun to photograph!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560 mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/125 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Insect Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 Comments

Fun Friday: Peek-a-Boo, I See You!

Ever sense someone or something is watching you? That happened to me this past week while kayaking in a Missouri Conservation Area. I was sitting still near a beaver lodge, waiting for some activity to begin. I kept looking at the lodge, then up in the sky, in case some Wood Ducks flew over. All at once, I sensed I was being watched. I turned around and looked at the beaver lodge, just in time to see this little guy intently watching me:

Common Raccoon

Apparently, he was on the backside of the lodge and foraging around the shallow water. Either sensing, or hearing me, he looked over the lodge to check me out. I had a very similar experience at this location just a week before, so it might be the same little guy. :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 520 mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 6400 (conditions were foggy and right at sunrise)
  • Aperture f/22 (shot this with way too small an Aperture; had it at f/22 to capture greater depth of field with Wood Ducks in the fog)
  • Shutter 1/8 sec. (Thank Goodness for IS!)

 

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Fun Friday post, Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 Comments

An Accepting Young Red-tail

After I completed my kayak on Tuesday morning, I loaded up the kayak and headed to the nearby natural prairie for a quick hike around the upper meadow. Upon completing that, I began the drive back to my rural home. Since the kayak area was on the way, I made a short detour to drive through and see if anything interesting was happening. As I drove down the gravel road, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) abruptly flew up into the air (he had been in some tall grasses at the edge of the road) and flew across the road in front of me. As he started to land in a small tree by the road, I noticed he had a mouse in his talons. Not wanting to miss any photo opps, I drove another 1/8 mile and turned around. I immediately got my camera ready (set the correct ISO, aperture, etc.), rolled down the passenger window (he would be on the passenger side as I approached the tree), and began driving back to the tree in a slow manner.

I feared he had only landed in the tree for a brief stop, before moving on to another location. But he was still sitting in the small tree and was beginning to work on his capture. I slowly pulled to the edge of the road (the opposite side where the hawk was located) and captured several bursts of images. After I was sure I had a few decent images, I slowly pulled away to leave this youngster with his meal.

Here are a few of my favorite images (CAUTION: the last image is a bit graphic). As I pulled up to the tree, he was busy devouring the mouse:

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

After finishing that bit, he looked up momentarily to check out his surroundings:

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Then resumed his meal … yep, definitely was a mouse:

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Murphy’s Rule #231 was in effect during this capture … “If there’s any limbs, I will be behind them!”¬† :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560 mm
  • Handheld from the window of my pickup truck
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/1250 sec. to 1/1600 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Woody Look-Alike

Enjoyed another kayak outing yesterday morning. The beavers were not cooperating again. Instead of out and about on such a nice, fall morning (air temperature was a crisp 38F when I began the adventure, a bit chilly but I love the crisp, fall mornings on the water!) I heard them inside the lodge, gnawing on some tree limbs they carried inside. I hung out for about 90 minutes, but all three beavers were “no shows”, so I decided to kayak around and see if something else was happening.

As so often is the case, I came upon a totally unexpected, but welcomed event. A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) was busy pounding his large beak into a dead tree that was standing in the water. As I carefully and slowly approached him (they tend to be quite skittish) he was so busy with his activities that he really didn’t pay much attention to me. As he worked his way up/down and around the tree trunk, he placed himself in front of some awesome fall colors, and at rather close range:

Pileated Woodpecker

 

 

 

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker is thought by many to be the model for the old “Woody Woodpecker” cartoon character. There definitely is a big resemblance! The pileated woodpecker is one of our largest woodpeckers, approximately the size of a crow. And quite loud when he calls out!

This close encounter made my whole morning worth the trip out! But on the way out of the area, I had another wonderful encounter with another, usually skittish creature¬† … I’ll share that in tomorrow’s post!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. to 1/500 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Raw Beauty on the Inside Passage

Today’s post comes from November 2008, on a photo trip to the Chilkat River Valley to photograph Bald Eagles. To get to the area, I flew into Juneau, Alaska and then took the Alaska Marine Highway (the state ferry system) to Haines. The ferry ride was an early morning ride that started out about 6:00am and went til we disembarked in Haines, approximately noon. Along the way, the raw beauty of Alaska’s Inside Passage was never ending. As soon as the sun began to rise (about 10:00am this time of the year in Alaska!), the sunrise reflection off the water behind the ferry was magnificent:

Alaska Sunrise

A little later, we moved past the first of two lighthouses, the Sentinel Island Lighthouse:

Sentinel Island Lighthouse

Sentinel Island Lighthouse

That was followed by the Eldred Rock Lighthouse:

Eldred Rock Lighthouse

JimBraswell-MMK2-6686-EldredRockLighthouse-6

The Inside Passage is always such a gorgeous place to visit … even in the winter! I’ve been thinking about this trip and right now I’m tentatively planning on another visit to the Chilkat River Valley in 2015, including a ferry ride from Bellingham, Washington to Haines, Alaska. I’m even thinking of doing a weeklong photo workshop at that time. I’m currently trying to work out all the logistics of such a trip. If I end up doing one, it will be a small group size … probably only 3-4 people. If interested, shoot me an e-mail (showmenaturepix@hotmail) and let me know. I’ll e-mail final details to you, before I publish to everyone else, if I decide to run this tour.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 2 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 100mm to 390mm
  • Handheld from deck of ferry, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200 (all photos)
  • Aperture f/6.3 to f/8
  • Shutter 1/30 sec. (thank goodness for IS!) to 1/400 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 Comment