Dreaming of Spring

Today in the Midwest, it will be spring … on January 28 … if only for a day! Our forecast in west-central Missouri is for the temperatures to soar to above 70F! But then winter sets back in as we make a large temperature drop tomorrow. But while it’s springy … actually, even summer-like, I’m posting some images from a spring trip to Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains. I love traveling to the Wichita Mountains in spring. Not only are the temperatures nice, but the wildflowers are blooming everywhere and life abounds, such as these Wild Turkey, foraging among a patch of Gallardia (also know as Indian Blanket, or Blanket Flower) wildflowers:

Wild Turkey foraging among wildflowers

Wild Turkey foraging among wildflowers

So, enjoy today’s “springtime photo” … tomorrow we’ll be back in winter images!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 435mm
  • Handheld from car, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/25 (I had been shooting landscapes when I came upon this group of turkey, and didn’t change the aperture setting)
  • Shutter 1/60 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Rrrrrrr, Ya Got Me Fish?

Today’s post was a real treat to observe and photograph during my recent “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop on the Mississippi River … an adult Bald Eagle pirating a fish away from an immature Bald Eagle. In the winter, the eagles appear to be quite communal, roosting and perching with other eagles … often multiple eagles on a single branch! But when it comes to food, they often turn to pirating fish away from other eagles (and gulls!):

Adult Bald Eagle pirates a fish from an immature Bald Eagle

Adult Bald Eagle pirates a fish from an immature Bald Eagle

Burning excess calories is something the eagles try to avoid in the winter. Thus, taking a fish away from another eagle will often take less energy than flying around and catching their own.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 435mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 3200 (early in the morning with a cloud cover made it necessary for a high ISO, to get a high shutter speed)
  • Aperture f/11 (I opened up a bit to assure both eagles would totally be in focus)
  • Shutter 1/1000 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fishing Low Over the River

On many occasions during the recent “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop, bald eagles soared and banked low over the Mississippi River while checking the river for any fish near the surface. This is one of my favorite eagle photography poses … soaring and banking low over the river:

Adult Bald Eagle making a sharp bank over the river

Adult Bald Eagle making a sharp bank over the river

Adult Bald Eagle fishing the Mississippi River

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 250
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Sunrise Over the Mississippi

During my “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop, we captured this awesome sunrise one morning as we stood along the Mississippi River, waiting for the Bald Eagles to fly in for fishing. Unfortunately, only one bald eagle flew across the brilliant sky, but we did have a few Canada Geese make the flyby:

Sunrise over the Mississippi River

Sunrise over the Mississippi River

Sunrise over the Mississippi River

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 2000
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/2500 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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A Maxwell Smart Moment

As Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed it by that much!” At least that’s what I envision this adult Bald Eagle might have been muttering after missing his meal:

Adult Bald Eagle fishing the Mississippi River

Adult Bald Eagle fishing the Mississippi River

Adult Bald Eagle fishing the Mississippi River

Bald Eagles are know for their fishing ability, but they don’t always make their catch. They also don’t always hold on to the fish they do catch. Wintering bald eagles are notorious pirates, chasing other eagles that have fish. In upcoming posts, I’ll share some interesting “pirating” by these magnificent birds.

Today’s post is another set of photos that I captured during my “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop last week along the Mississippi River.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 250
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: My Personal WatchDog

A funny moment in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains … woke up one morning and looked outside my camper to find my own, personal bodyguard … a large American Bison:

American Bison outside my camper

Bison roam freely on the Wichita Mountains NWR, even in the campground! I had to carefully exit the camper and walk around my camper and to the next campsite, in order to get this image. Makes it a bit interesting to get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break … have to be careful not to trip over one of these guys! :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 140mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/16
  • Shutter 1/25 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Blog, Fun Friday post, Mammals, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Peg-Leg, a Source of Inspiration

Today’s post features “Peg-Leg”, an adult Bald Eagle we found during my recent “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop on the Mississippi River. At first, Peg-Leg appeared to have only one leg. But after watching him fly and fish in front of us for a while, we could see he had one leg tucked up under his tail (as is the normal flying position for the leg), and the other leg was always hanging down. If you look closely in this photo, you will see one leg folded back and under the tail:

Adult Bald Eagle with one broken leg

But this “handicap” was not a hindrance  to this otherwise healthy bird. A little later we watched him, time and again, successfully fishing the Mississippi River. Here is a sequence of one of those events:

Adult Bald Eagle with one broken leg, fishing

If you look closely, you can see a small fish in his left leg:

Adult Bald Eagle with one broken leg, fishing

Adult Bald Eagle with one broken leg, fishing

Adult Bald Eagle with one broken leg, fishing

This bird was interesting to watch. Other than a little “drag” when flying, his droopy, broken leg was not much of an issue for this inspiring bird.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 700mm
  • Bogen 3221 Tripod, with Wemberly Gimbal Head
  • ISO 1200 (shot at this high ISO to keep shutter speed very fast, via Shutter Priority mode, to freeze the wing movement)
  • Aperture f/11
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec. to 1/4000 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Catch and Release

I’m back home now and have my external hard drives unpacked and back in place on my desktop, so I’m now able to get to and edit more images from the just-concluded “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop. Today’s post features the single American White Pelican (that I featured in yesterday’s post) that we photographed on our last 1/2 day of the workshop.

Although it took this guy a long time, he finally managed to capture a rather large fish. Here are a few images that I captured of the event:

American White Pelican feeding

American White Pelican feeding

An enlarged photo shows the backlighting through the pelican’s pouch, and the fish halfway in and halfway out:

American White Pelican feeding (greatly enlarged)

American White Pelican feeding

American White Pelican feeding

American White Pelican feeding

Oh, and the “release”? After all this effort and giving the small workshop group such a wonderful show, the fish escaped out of the pelican’s pouch when he lowered his head into the water (maybe he needed some water to help “wash down” his prized catch?):

American White Pelican feeding

American White Pelican feeding

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 3200 (shot at this high ISO to keep shutter speed at 1/2000 sec., via Shutter Priority mode)
  • Aperture f/9
  • Shutter 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Low Flying Beauty

Today’s post was captured yesterday morning during the last 1/2 day of my “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop, on the Mississippi River. Temperatures had significantly warmed up and the bald eagle activity was waning. But we were again graced with a single American White Pelican (as well as a Great Blue Heron, and a few feeding bald eagles).

This single pelican was quite the “show boat”. He would start at the end of the water pool and swim across, in front of us, and down the river until we lost sight of him … but in about 30 minutes, we would see him swimming (or, on one occasion, flying back) back to the other end. He continued this fishing scheme for most of the morning. Here are a few images I captured of one of his trips by us, as he flew low over the Mississippi River:

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

In another post, I’ll share some interesting images I captured of him catching a “lunker” fish. :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 3200 (cloudy conditions necessitated a high ISO to keep the shutter speeds up)
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec. to 1/3200 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Trumpeter Swan Videos

Trumpeter Swans flying over the refuge

Back in December (2014), I posted several times on Trumpeter Swans that were at the Squaw Creek NWR in northwest Missouri. At that time, I captured a few videos of the swans. However, due to having extremely slow internet at home, I could not upload them for sharing. On my current “Wintering Bald Eagles” photo workshop, we have had super internet and I’ve found some time in the late evenings to upload a couple of swan videos (these videos are not high quality … my videographic skills are not well honed, but I’m posting them for the behavioral aspect of the beautiful swans, not for the video quality).

Trumpeter Swans are a favorite bird of mine and I look forward to being able to spend some time photographing them every fall. One of their behaviors I always look forward to is their pre-flight ritual of “trumpeting” (honking in a sound that resembles a trumpet) and the “head-bob”. In this first video, a small family of Trumpeter Swans are head-bobbing as they prepare to launch:

http://youtu.be/VhFMMVOVcss

As soon as I stopped recording the head-bob, they immediately began their take-off, “running across the water” as they gained enough speed to take flight:

http://youtu.be/sPANkhMy8jM

Videos were captured with my Canon 7D SLR body + Canon 500mm, f/4 IS telephoto lens + Canon 1.4x TC, all mounted on my Bogen 3221 tripod + Wemberly Gimbal head.

Today is my last day of the “Wintering Bald Eagle” photo workshop. After a short day of completing our photography of the wintering bald eagles of the Mississippi River, we will head home. I may not be able to prepare a post for tomorrow, but I’ll try to get something out.  :o)

 

 

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