Spring Color Arrives

Whew, been quite busy getting new prints ready for my upcoming first-of-year art show. I’ll be in Stillwater, Oklahoma soon for the Stillwater Arts Festival (if you live nearby, hope to see you there!). And I’ve been busy teaching a 6-week class in digital SLR photography; I have a wonderful group of photographers that are eager to learn new skills and techniques. That always makes for a great class!

Although I’ve been quite busy with all these activities, I managed to get my camera out and walk the woodline of my property, checking out the progress of woodland wildflowers. I’ll post about that in another post, but today’s post features some of the many bulb flowers now growing in/around my woods (note: these were not planted there by me … instead, my little squirrel friends love to dig up bulbs in the garden and carry them to the woods. In many cases, the bulbs eventually root there and although not intended, it does give a nice color to the otherwise drab woods in late winter/early spring!).

Here are a few of the spring flowers now in bloom:

A single Grape Hyacinth has been re-planted to the woods near the road leading to my home:

Grape Hyacinth in bloom

And there are lots of different varieties of Daffodils in bloom:

Daffodil in bloom

Daffodil in bloom

Daffodil in bloom

Daffodil in bloom

In my next post, I plan on featuring the status of woodland wildflowers at my home.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Handheld
  • ISO 200 (all images)
  • Aperture f/3.5 (all images)
  • Shutter 1/125 sec. to 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Family Dispute

Today’s Fun Friday post comes from the Venice Rookery (Florida) and features a pair of juvenile Anhingas having a sibling dispute in their nest at the rookery.

Juvenile Anhingas in a Sibling Dispute in the nest

While most of the birds at the rookery were busy building their nests, and a few even involved in mating, the Anhingas, along with the Great Blue Herons, are some of the earlier nesters. Won’t be too long until these two Anhingas complete their feather development and fledge the nest.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/4
  • Shutter 1/3200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Black-crowned Night Herons Nesting

In this second post of Black-crowned Night Herons at the Venice bird rookery (Venice, Florida), I’m featuring some images I captured of the herons as they brought back twigs and small branches for their nests they were busy building. Unfortunately, their nests are typically deep in the thickets and not very visible. So I could only capture the herons bringing the materials back to the rookery; once at the rookery, they quickly disappeared deep in the foliage.

Here are some of my favorites:

Heading out for material:

Black-Crowned Night Heron

And returning with nest materials:

Black-Crowned Night Heron with Nesting Material

Black-Crowned Night Heron with Nesting Material

Black-Crowned Night Heron with Nesting Material

I particularly liked seeing the nice water reflections on the undersides of the herons as they flew across the waters surrounding the rookery … gives a nice touch!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body and 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens (+ 1.4x TC with some images)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 250 to ISO 400
  • Aperture f/4 to f/13
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec. to 1/5000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Black-crowned Night Herons

When I recently traveled to Florida, one of my target birds for the trip was the Black-crowned Night Heron (BCNH). These herons are smaller herons and can be quite shy to photograph. But, like many birds in Florida, they are accustomed to humans and can be much easier to photograph. They seem to be more active at dawn and dusk, which was fine with me and the lighting is typically much better then, than during mid-day.

I was hoping to find some of these herons at the Venice Rookery, and I wasn’t disappointed! Several BCNH’s were busy flying from and to the rookery as they were int he process of building nests. Here are a few of my favorite images of this colorful little heron:

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

I was even able to capture a “in your face” image as this little guy flew out, straight at me:

Black-Crowned Night Heron

In my next post, I’ll share some Black-crowned Night Heron images as they bring nesting materials back to the rookery.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body and 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens (+ 1.4x TC with some images)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 250 to ISO 400
  • Aperture f/4 to f/13
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec. to 1/5000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Better Keep Fishin’

Today’s “Fun Friday” post features a Great Blue Heron that flew from the rookery to the water’s edge, directly in front of me, to fish. Having my long (500mm) lens on, the heron came so close that I had to back away a couple of feet to even be able to photograph it. At first, I was wishing my shorter lens was on the end of my camera. But it ended up being a good thing I had that long lens attached … the fish he was catching were small minnows! Better not stop fishing just yet!

Great Blue Heron fishing

Great Blue Heron fishing

Great Blue Heron fishing

Great Blue Heron fishing

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 1600
  • Aperture f/4 to f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. to 1/640 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Let the Games Begin

After leaving Myakka River State Park, I drove a short distance to my next destination, Venice, FL, where I would spend a couple of days at the great bird rookery there.

The Venice Rookery is another favorite place to visit when I go to Florida. It consists of an island-like bunch of mangroves, with some pretty, but non-native Brazilian pepper plants (the red berries you will see in lots of the upcoming images), surrounded completely by water. Among these nesting sites, there are many birds that nest here: great blue herons, great egrets, black-crowned night herons, anhingas, double-crested cormorants, and more. And if you arrive early, or stay late, lots of white ibis roost here overnight. Protecting the birds from predators, are a couple of resident alligators that continuously patrol around the rookery. So, there’s always something going on here!

In this first of many posts from the rookery, I am featuring some of the display activities (“sky pointing”) that the great egrets were involved in, as part of the ritual of attracting a mate:

Great Egret "sky pointing"

Great Egret "sky pointing"

Great Egret "sky pointing"

Great Egret "sky pointing"

And at least one pair had “said their vows” and began to mate:

Great Egrets mating

Great Egrets mating

Note all the beautiful, long plumes that develop down the egrets’ backs, when the breeding plumage appears. In our early history, these plumes almost caused the demise of this great bird … seems that all the ladies wanted hats made with these long plumes. Also, note the green coloration around the base of the bill and the eye … another breading plumage attribute.

Lots more bird images from the Venice Rookery coming up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens (+ 1.4x TC with some images)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 200 to ISO 400
  • Aperture f/4 to f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec. to 1/8000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Kayaking the Myakka, Part 3

In this final part of the “Kayaking the Myakka River” series, I’m featuring several species of wading birds that I captured while kayaking the Myakka River. These images show why I love taking the kayak out for some bird photography … you can get close, as well as down to “the birds’ level”. Enjoy these kayak images:

Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

Limpkin foraging along the edge of the river

Great Blue Heron

Glossy Ibis

Following the capture of these images, I packed up and headed south to Venice, Florida, where I visited the wonderful bird rookery (aka, nesting sites) for a couple of days of exciting bird photography. Lots of neat bird images coming up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, from 180mm to 400mm
  • Handheld in the kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800 (all)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (all)
  • Shutter 1/125 sec. to 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Need A Ride? Call Uber!

Today’s “Fun Friday” post comes from my recent stay in Myakka River State Park. One day while photographing at the park’s bridge, I looked up and saw this adult Great Blue Heron with a catfish in it’s mouth:

Great Blue Heron with Catfish

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, at 400mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Kayaking the Myakka, Part 2

In this second part of my “Kayaking the Myakka”, I’m going to feature a few of the many alligator images I captured from the kayak.

But before I share the gator images, here is an image I captured using my cell phone. I think you will see how peaceful it can be kayaking the Myakka River. It was so quiet … no cars, no people shouting. About the only sound was the occasional bird foraging at the river’s edge and the sound of water dripping from my paddle as I kayaked about. What a wonderfully relaxing paddle!

Myakka River view, from kayak

And here are a few of the gator images I captured from the Myakka River:

American Alligator

American Alligator

American Alligator

American Alligator

American Alligator

If you missed the first kayaking post, you can find it by clicking on this link: “Kayaking the Myakka, Part 1”

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, from 180mm to 400mm
  • Handheld in the kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800 (all)
  • Aperture f/5 and f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/640 sec. to 1/1600 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Reptiles and Amphibians, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Kayaking the Myakka, Part 1

Today’s post is the first of several that feature some images I captured during my kayak adventure down the Myakka River, within Myakka River State Park (MRSP), Florida. I’ve photographed at MRSP during several trips to Florida, and have always dreamed about kayaking up the river into the areas where humans don’t normally travel … only the native wildlife. Well, over the winter I refinished “Rubber Ducky”, giving her a new coat of camo paint. I was surprised to find that Ms. Ducky would fit inside the SUV! That really made it easy to transport her to Florida with me! Although it took up a lot of room inside the car, I was able to pack a lot of things inside the canopy of the kayak … problem solved!

The first couple of days at MRSP were spent driving around and hiking to Deep Hole. After I had a good sense of what wildlife was present, I unloaded Ms. Ducky at the Myakka River bridge, loaded my camera onboard, and launched into the river. Once I paddled out of sight of the bridge, it was like I entered another world … no people, but wildlife everywhere! In today’s post, I’m featuring the Tricolored Heron, a common heron with an interesting behavior.

In this first image, the heron is fishing using a technique often referred to as “canopy feeding”. Spreading it’s wings like an overhead canopy, the heron shades the water making it easier to spot unsuspecting fish:

Tricolored Heron "Canopy Fishing"

Tricolored Heron

Tricolored Heron

Once a fish is spotted, the heron makes a lightning-fast stab:

Tricolored Heron fishing

When successful, a snack is captured:

Tricolored Heron with Fish

Coming up, more wildlife captured while kayaking the Myakka River.

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 and ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8 and f/11
  • Shutter 1/250 sec. to 1/1250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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