Fun Friday: Artist’s Choice!

For today’s “Fun Friday” post, I’m including some images that are special to me. Photographing bald eagles is one of my favorite photography subjects! I made these images on the first day of my last trip to the Mississippi River to capture wintering bald eagles in Missouri. That trip occurred back in 2010, in the river town of Clarksville, Missouri, where one of the many Lock & Dams of the Mississippi River is located.Here are a few images I captured during one of my days there:

Bald Eagle with fish

Bald Eagle fishing in the Mississippi River

Bald Eagle with fish

Bald Eagle with fish

Bald Eagle with fish in his beak

Since that time, the winters have been pretty warm and the bald eagle numbers have been too depressed for a trip back to Clarksville. I’ve also been busy traveling to other locations at this time of year, but I’m currently planning an early 2015 trip to some Lock & Dams a bit farther north, in eastern Iowa. Being farther north than Clarksville, there should be more bald eagles wintering along the Mississippi River at these locations. At least that is the information I have been finding during my recent research. I am also opening up that trip as an “Investigative” Photo Workshop, allowing up to 4 photographers to join me. Details can be found on my Nature Workshops page. If you are interested, please e-mail me and I will get back with you on further details, and get you signed up.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (700 mm)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wemberly gimbal head
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2000 sec. to 1/3200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Thoughts of Spring!

Upon awakening this morning, I found a nice layer of fresh snow draped over my rural Missouri landscape (which I love, except for needing to put up a ladder and brush the snow off my satellite internet dish this morning, before completing this blog post!). I love winter and it’s wonderful photographic opportunities, but my thoughts also fast-forwarded to envisioning beautiful wildflowers emerging from a cold winter! With that thought in mind, I pulled up a few early spring wildflower images I captured this spring near my home:

Bluebell wildflowers in mid-bloom

Bluebell wildflowers in mid-bloom

Bluebell wildflowers in mid-bloom

These Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are one of my favorite early spring wildflowers, growing in wooded areas near my home. In fact, when timed just right, the whole forest floor at this location looks blue! Quite a wonderful sight for a nature photographer. Once these guys emerge and begin blooming in the coming spring, I will be doing several “Watch and Learn” in-the-field workshops (I’ll be adding more information on my “Coming Events” website page soon!).

Also, I want to let those photographers in the Kansas City area that I will be teaching photography classes at the Cass Career Center in Harrisonville, Missouri, starting in January. One of these classes is a 1-night class titled “Flower Photography”, where I will share tips and how to’s for capturing wildflower images. For more information, check out class information at this link:  2015 Spring Photography Classes.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5 and f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/250 sec. and 1/60 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Photography Classes, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Lone Ruddy

At one of the water pools on the Squaw Creek NWR, I found this lone Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) female, foraging near the road:

Ruddy Duck hen

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 700mm)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 2500
  • Aperture f/11
  • Shutter 1/1250 sec.

 

 

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Trumpeter Swans With Wings in Motion

It’s always a wonderful sight whenever a beautiful Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) leans back and upward, and start’s flapping it’s wings … you really get a sense for the size of the bird when they do this. This activity is common after a bird bathes or preens the bad feathers from his coat. Here are a couple of images of the Trumpeter Swan exercising his wings:

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Another interesting sight is watching the swans take-off from a body of water. I managed to capture a video of this and will share that as soon as I get it uploaded.  :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 700mm)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 1250
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/250 sec.

 

 

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Adult Bald Eagles

The number of adult Bald Eagles were dwindling at the Squaw Creek NWR when I was there last week. But I managed to capture a few decent images:

Adult Bald Eagle

Adult Bald Eagle

Adult Bald Eagle

Next month, I’m planning on a bald eagle shoot along the Mississippi River, so I’m hoping that cold weather will continue to bring eagles southward!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body and Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100 mm-400 mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 560mm) and Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 1600
  • Aperture f/6.3 to f/8
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. to 1/640 sec.

 

 

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Morning Chow Line

While touring the refuge auto route early in the morning, it is very common to see groups of Bald Eagles just waiting for a meal to come close!

Bald Eagles

This group of 5 eagles were pretty evenly distributed … 2 adults, 2 juveniles and one “tweener” that was starting to get his white head, but not quite there.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 700mm)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”, while resting on beanbag on the window ledge of car
  • ISO 1600
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/160 sec.

 

 

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Surprising Sandhills

I was surprised to find 3 Sandhill Cranes on the refuge at Squaw Creek NWR, this past week. Over the past few years, a handfull of cranes have been spotted on the refuge, but they usually are in the deep South by now! The pair of adults and one juvenile were seen a couple of times, both at the edge of refuge waters and again in an old corn field:

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body (top photo) and Canon 7D body (bottom 2 photos)
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm (top photo); Canon EF 500mm, f/4 + Canon 1.4xTC, shot at 700mm (bottom 2 photos)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”, from car window
  • ISO 1600 (all)
  • Aperture f/8 (top photo) and f/6.3 (bottom 2 photos)
  • Shutter 1/320 sec. (top photo) and 1/640 sec. (bottom 2 photos)

 

 

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Fun Friday: Crowded High-Rise

While photographing bald eagles and trumpeter swans at the Squaw Creek NWR, I ran upon this interesting and comical scene … four Canada geese occupying a muskrat hut in one of the pools:

Canada Geese on muskrat hut

Starting to get a bit crowded!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 560mm)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”, while resting on window ledge of car
  • ISO 1600
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/250 sec.

 

 

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Juvenile Bald Eagles

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been photographing Bald Eagles and Trumpeter Swans at the Squaw Creek NWR in northwest Missouri. As the temperatures quickly dropped, the number of bald eagles have steadily declined, particularly the adult bald eagles. Today’s post includes a few of my favorite juvenile bald eagle images I captured:

Juvenile Bald Eagle on ice

Juvenile Bald Eagle sits on a snag overlooking pool

Juvenile Bald Eagle sits on a snag overlooking pool

At one point, a juvenile eagle made an extremely close flyby … right when I was using my 500mm + 1.4xTC … made for a super closeup!

Juvenile Bald Eagle makes a close flyby

In another post, I’ll feature a few of my favorite adult bald eagle images.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D and Canon 5D Mark 3 bodies
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens and Canon EF500mm, f/4 IS lens
  • Handheld (all images)
  • ISO variable
  • Aperture variable
  • Shutter speed variable

 

 

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White-on-White

After keeping an eye on the bird counts at Squaw Creek NWR (northwest Missouri), and seeing another strong cold front about to move through the area, I decided I needed to get up to the refuge ASAP … bald eagle counts of over 225 and trumpeter swan counts of over 250 were incentives enough for me! So, yesterday morning I got up really early and drove to the refuge which is about 2 hours away from my home. I’m sure glad I decided to drive up at that time … the cold front has moved through and lots of birds are moving southward. Still a reasonable amount of eagles, and the trumpeter swan numbers seem to be holding on to high numbers. So a couple days of photography is definitely warranted!

Today’s post features a few of the many in-flight trumpeter swan images I captured yesterday:

Trumpeter Swans flying over the refuge

Trumpeter Swans flying over the refuge

Trumpeter Swans flying over the refuge

Trumpeter Swans flying over the refuge

Just a few short years ago, trumpeter swans could not be found here, but their migrating numbers have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Also, as you can see, the front has brought in tons of clouds. I really don’t like photographing with a bright, white sky, but these beautiful birds certainly help! Tomorrow’s goal is to grab some nice bald eagle images (fingers crossed)!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC (shot at 560mm)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500 and ISO 1250 (depending on lighting at the time)
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/125 sec. to 1/1600 sec. (depending on ISO set at)

 

 

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