Swainson’s Hawk portrait – Nikon D200, f9, 1/250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited
I photographed this hawk in May of 2011 and soon after I photographed it I made a post about the bird here on my blog. The other day I came across that post and felt very embarrassed because on that post I realized I had incorrectly ID’d this bird as a Red-tailed Hawk. I must have been distracted or in a hurry to make the wrong ID but it does show that no matter how well you know your bird ID a mistake can be made.
I’ve corrected my previous post that had images of this bird n it.
And I have completely washed the egg off of my face
Boat-tailed Grackle male – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 260mm, natural light
Boat-tailed Grackles are very common in Florida and many people consider them a nuisance because they will frequent areas where people leave food and trash around and these birds will scavenge in those locations for food. I think of how opportunistic Boat-tailed Grackles can be because they have adapted to human presence and will clean up the edible pollution we leave behind while we “recreate”.
Male Boat-tailed Grackles have velvety black feathers that glow in the right light with iridescence purples, blues, teals and greens. This one posed on top of a sign near the parking lot for the Celery Fields of Sarasota, Florida in January of 2009. The area used to be a commercial celery farming operation but is now a great area for Sandhill Cranes in the winter and can be very birdy at times.
Coyote running across a snow drift – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in
In my post yesterday I shared a Coyote photo in the snow and wanted to share a few more of the Coyotes I saw on Antelope Island State Park on Monday. It is a challenge to photograph in low light and snow, exposure compensation is key so that the subject isn’t too dark and the snow isn’t too bright. I opted to go light on the subjects in these images and brought down the exposure of the snow in post processing.
I mentioned that I spotted two Coyotes, one pale larger one I believe to be a male and a darker, smaller one I believe to be a female. The female never came up close like the pale Coyote did, the picture above shows the pale Coyote running through the snow as it came closer.
Coyote sniffing for voles – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light, not baited or called in
The pale Coyote was hunting, it would often stop and press its muzzle into the snow to sniff out voles. Just after the image above was created the Coyote stuck its nose into the snow drift. It was aware of our presence but didn’t seem bothered by us as it came so close I wasn’t able to focus on it at times.
Snowy Coyote portrait – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited or called in
I was able to zoom in and get some portraits of the pale Coyote with snow covering its muzzle and face.
Coyote and snow drifts pano – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in
The Coyote that I believe to be the female because of its smaller size was more cautious than the paler Coyote and hung back, in front of her the pale Coyote’s tracks are just barely visible. She never came in close to us.
Coyote sitting on a road – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in
The pale Coyote sat on the road and appeared to be waiting for the darker one to catch up but after a few minutes it was clear to us that she wasn’t going to and we passed the pale Coyote on the road. Later on after making a loop to the south of the island we saw them together again on a hill-side.
I know some people may not care for these images because they are high key but I find them; and the Coyotes, very appealing.
More Coyote images
Great Egret Portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 160mm, natural light, not baited
These two “Great” images were taken two minutes apart of two different “Great” wading birds in Florida. The first one I photographed was this Great Egret that was going into breeding plumage, those lores were pretty green but they get greener during the height of mating season. Notice that I was only at 160mm, this bird walked up very close to me. That bill looked dangerously close, glad I don’t look like any of this bird’s prey.
Great Blue Heron Portrait – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited
This Great Blue Heron was going out of breeding plumage, notice that the lores are a dull gray with a slight blue tint to them, during mating season the lores are a dark blue.
They are “Great” birds!
More Great Egret and Great Blue Heron images
Great Blue Heron portrait – Mid morning light – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
It seems I have always had a fondness for Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) although I don’t recall the first time I ever saw one. Great Blues are large wading birds that have a prehistoric look to them and even their calls; more like a croak, sound like something from the long distant past.
When I photographed this Great Blue Heron the golden light of dawn had passed yet the light was wonderful for this close up of a resting heron. The white sand beneath it did reflect some light back towards the bird.
The quality of light can make subtle to large differences in a final image, if the light is too harsh it can make the subject and its surroundings contrasty and make any shadows appear even darker. It can make whites blow out easily too. Unless there are high thin clouds or it is slightly overcast I don’t like to photograph birds in the middle of the day instead I prefer to photograph in the early morning or late afternoon, always hoping for that “sweet light”.
Great Blue Heron portrait – Warm morning light – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
This Great Blue Heron portrait was taken earlier in the morning than the previous image and there was still a touch of that golden morning light, the whites by the eye, the chin and under the bill have warmer tones than the image above and the feathers on the back are less a blue-gray and more of a tan-gray.
Great Blue Heron – Mid morning light – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
This image was also taken in mid morning light, the light at that time of day is typically more “blue” than it is just as the sun rises. This Great Blue was standing on a sand dune that overlooked the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico which lends a sense of place to the photo.
I’ve said I like to photograph in morning and evening light but I also like the challenges of photographing in low light, fog, rain and falling snow.
Great Blue Heron – Pre-dawn light with Earth Shadow – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1.320, ISO 640, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
This Great Blue Heron image is an example of photographing in low light. This was taken pre-dawn, before the sun had crested the horizon, the bluish tint near the feet of the heron was the earth’s shadow and the pink tinged sky was above that.
I did lighten the exposure for this image slightly in post processing but not enough that I would have needed to use Noise Reduction.
That morning is one I won’t soon forget, the wind was blowing at about 30 knots (35 mph) from the north and it was picking up the sand which felt like tiny needles where my skin was bare, I made sure to keep my lens hood pointed away from the north so the sand wouldn’t pit the UV filter that was screwed on above the glass. I was laying below the sand dune where the heron was standing, partly because I wanted a low angle but mostly because the dune did help to protect me some from the sting of the flying sand.
I knew the sun was rising so I took as many images as I could, there was something about the earth shadow, the low light and the heron that felt magical and looked wonderful through my viewfinder. It was worth having a bit of my skin peeled off to get these images.
Light does make a difference.
More Great Blue Heron images