Goldfinches in the Snow

Yesterday’s post featured a few Northern Cardinal images from my covered front porch after this weekend’s snowstorm. Today’s post features some American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) images that were captured at the same time:

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

In a few weeks, these beautiful birds will be wearing their summer plumage. The males will have a beautiful yellow body, with black wings and a black cap on their heads!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 1250
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/640 sec. to 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Cardinals in the Snow

Over the weekend, we received several inches of fresh snow. Since our covered front porch looked like Grand Central Station with birds everywhere, I set my portable blind up and photographed some of the birds coming to our feeders. Today’s post features a few images of my Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) friends:

Northern Cardinal, female

Northern Cardinal, female

Northern Cardinal, male

Northern Cardinal, male

At one point, I counted nearly 30 cardinals on our front porch, all at the same moment … and there were more sitting in the trees surrounding the front of the house! More bird species will be featured in upcoming posts.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 500mm, f/4 IS lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 1250
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/640 sec. to 1/800 sec.

 

 

 

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Testing the Limits

While editing some older images, I found a couple of images captured from the kayak, of a small frog “hiding” in a lily pad. Reviewing the image data, I realized these images were made by hand-holding the camera/macro lens combo. I used a very small aperture to throw the background out-of-focus. This also caused a very shallow depth of field. One of the photos rendered the frog’s eyes in sharp focus:

Small frog hiding in lily pad

The other photo caused the eyes to be a bit out-of-focus, but the frog’s nose was crisp:

Small frog hiding in lily pad

 

Normally, this is a good scenario for employing focus-stacking, a technique where multiple images (each shot at a different plane of sharp focus) are combined, creating an image with a greater depth of field for a portion of the image … but still retaining an out-of-focus background. The problem here, though, is that I was hand-holding while creating both images. Thus, the two images were not “overlaid”. How would focus-stacking work with these images? I decided to export both images to my focus-stacking software, “Helicon Focus”, and give it a go. Here is the result I got:

Frog hiding in Lily Pad (Focus Stacked)

I like this image much better than either of the two previous images. There is still a small depth of field, but both the nose and eyes are in sharp focus. From lessons like this, I always try not to trash any image that is “close, but not what I wanted”. In some cases, you can employ a special technique to obtain the desired result.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 2 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Handheld from a kayak
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/640 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Photography Tips, Reptiles and Amphibians | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Here Fishy, Fishy

While kayaking, I sometimes run across Green Herons (Butorides virescens), which are always fun and interesting to watch. And they are excellent fishers. In today’s photos, I’m sharing a couple of a Green Heron stalking fish at the edge of the water:

Green Heron stalking fish

Green Heron stalking fish

In another post, I’ll share some images captured of a Green Heron fishing.

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 540mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 1600
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/100 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Peek-A-Boo!

Today’s “Fun Friday” post is a fairly common experience I come across when kayaking … a juvenile Raccoon “hiding” behind some grasses at the edge of the water, watching “that crazy person in that funny looking contraption”:

Juvenile Raccoon hiding in grasses

When I have an experience like this, I will quickly shoot a few frames, then slowly back away and let the little guy go about his business. This also helps to instill in him that I am no threat, which might come in handy during another encounter as he grows up!

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 420mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/1250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Blog, Fun Friday post, Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Hunting With My Bro

While kayaking a few years ago, I captured this pair of juvenile Raccoons foraging along the water’s edge:

Juvenile Raccoons foraging for food

Raccoons are always fun to watch, especially the younger ones!

 

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 450mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/400 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Blog, Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Flight Path Bee

When kayaking among the many American Lotus flowers, it is common to find all kinds of nectar-seeking insects enjoying the fruits that lie inside the Lotus blooms. One morning, things fell into place when two Bumble Bees were in flight, about to reach a Lotus flower where a third Bee was already busy collecting nectar:

Bumble Bees and an American Lotus flower

This sight reminded me of driving near the end of an airport runway, seeing the planes lined up, ready to land :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 540mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Blog, Insect Photography, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Meet Me In St. Louie … Not!

I was able to photograph a new, Life bird yesterday … a Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus). My good friend Ginny invited me over to Pete/her’s rural home to photograph this “misplaced” bird. Arriving in the morning, it only took about 10 minutes for the bird to show up, courted by a whole flock of House Sparrows. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow is most notably recognized by the dark spots, against a whitish background, on both cheeks:

Eurasian Tree Sparrow with a group of House Sparrows

Eurasian Tree Sparrow with a group of House Sparrows

JimBraswell-B5DMK3-5455-EurasianTreeSparrow-3

Eurasian Tree Sparrow with a group of House Sparrows

Eurasian Tree Sparrow with a House Sparrow

And this image is a nice one to complete the post … (front to back) Eurasian Tree Sparrow, female House Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow :o)

Eurasian Tree Sparrow, a female House Sparrow and a White-crowned Sparrow

Researching this new bird, I discovered that it is native to the Old World. It was released in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1870, where it became established. Unlike it’s close relative the House Sparrow, it has not spread very far from it’s release area. Looking at distribution maps, it seems to only live in St. Louis and a very small section of western Illinois. Guess this one was on vacation :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”, and shot through a house window
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/160 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Female Belted Kingfisher

Some images of a female Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle torquatus) that I captured from my kayak a few years ago. How do I know this is a female? The female has a reddish-brown belly band around her belly … the male does not:

Female Belted Kingfisher

Female Belted Kingfisher

Female Belted Kingfisher

The low, in-the-water approach of a kayak can often get one very close to otherwise skittish subjects, such as the Belted Kingfisher. I have had very good luck at photographing these shy birds from the kayak.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 525mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 3200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/125 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Nesting Great Horned Owls

This morning I found some nesting Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) images from early spring 2009 that I don’t believe I’ve shared. These images were made in a city park in Lee’s Summit, Missouri:

Great Horned Owl nesting

Great Horned Owl nesting

It was a rather cold, windy day (you can see the adult’s “horns”, which are only tufts of feathers, leaning to the left in the wind). Also, there is a prey item on the righthand side of the nest, likely either a rabbit or squirrel. I haven’t been at this location for a long time … I probably need to check it out soon, to see if the Great Horned Owls still nest there.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D 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 800
  • Aperture f/6.3
  • Shutter 1/400 sec.

 

 

 

Posted in 2009, 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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