Eastern Pondhawks At Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

We usually like going to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge outside of Cambridge Maryland for photographing Bald Eagles. It usually has one of the largest amounts of Bald Eagles in the Northeast. But in the Summer I also like it for the large amounts & different types of Dragonflies you can find. Here I am posting some images of Eastern Pondhawk Dragonflies. Blackwater has a long Wildlife Drive so you can find a large variety of Dragonflies because of the different varieties of habitats along the Drive. Some of the best areas are by the Observation Platform that goes out above the grasses over the water & along the Wildlife Drive where there is standing water on both sides of the Drive.

Female Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly, 400mm DO lens, 1.4x Teleconverter, Canon 1D mkIV
Female Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly, 400mm DO lens, 1.4x Teleconverter, Canon 1D mkIV

Monarch Butterfly On Buttonbush

I was looking for Dragonflies to photograph at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge Maryland, but came across this Monarch Butterfly on this Buttonbush plant. I was using a 400mm DO lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter on a Canon 1DmkIV. I thought it looked interesting hanging upside down on the spherical pincushion blossoms. They are composed of dense clusters of tiny white tubular flowers. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is often lauded for its utility rather than its beauty. Its commercial introduction in 1735 was primarily for beekeepers (hence, its other common name of honey-bells), who cultivated this deciduous shrub as a pollen and nectar resource for honeybees. This wetland shrub can be found in low-lying areas, swamps, marshes, bogs, and wetlands, and along the edges of ponds, streams, and rivers. It is often used to develop and restore wetlands, control erosion in riparian areas, and create wildlife habitats.

Osprey FlyBy At Blackwater NWR

An Osprey Flyby image taken on the Wildlife Drive at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge, Maryland. This was from a few years ago and never got around to working on them. Luckily I had time to shoot a vertical image as it quickly flew by providing a frame filling image with very little cropping. Then the Osprey circled back and I got a few more images as it flew by in the opposite direction. Featured image taken with a Canon 400mm f/4DO lens on Canon 1D mkIII. (f/8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, aperture priority).

Osprey, Canon 400mm DO lens, Canon 1DmkIII, f/16, 1/400
Osprey, Canon 400mm DO lens, Canon 1DmkIII, f/16, 1/500

American White Pelican Flying In At Blackwater NWR

These are from a past trip a couple of years ago in April. I was photographing a Bald Eagle when I noticed a lone American White Pelican heading straight towards me. I started photographing it and was shooting a series of images as it was coming towards me. It banked sharply and landed in the water. After it landed in the water I noticed a whole flock flying in from the side that was apparently following the lone Pelican. So I guess he was the leader of the group. The bright white Pelicans really stood out against the deep blue color of the water. Also you can see the lone American White Pelican was in Breeding Plumage with the fibrous epidermal plate on it’s upper mandibles about one third of the way up their bills. All images were taken with a Canon 400mm DO lens with a Canon 2X Teleconverter on a Canon 1D mkIII.

American White Pelican with in Breeding Plumage with the fibrous bump on upper bill
A small section of the Large Group that was following the lone Pelican .
A small section of the Large Group landing in the water that was following the lone Pelican .

Osprey Defending Nest

On a visit years ago in the Spring to Blackwater NWR there was a lot of activity around the Osprey Nests along the Wildlife Drive. It was in mating season and the Ospreys were busy on the nests. This image was when an other osprey kept trying to get to the nest. On this pass the defending Osprey almost went upside down with claws out defending the nest. Plus there was a lot of screeching of the birds going on. This was the best image of the series because the more it was going up to defend the nest I cut off some of the Osprey in the image. Not sure if there were eggs in the nest or just wanted the nest. Image taken with a 400mm f/4 DO lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter on a Canon 1D mkIII.

Blackwater NWR Sunrise Panoramas

These images are a series of multi-image panoramas of a Blackwater NWR Sunrise on a visit there in July 2018. Blackwater NWR is a great place to visit for sunrise & sunsets. We were trying to get there for the sunrise and we just made it before the sunrise started. Most images were taken with a Canon 1D mkIV with a 24-105mm lens at various focal lengths. The featured image is made from 12 horizontal images taken @ 85mm to show less foreground and more height to the distant tree line. The full final size pano is 118″ long x ~20″ high.

Pre-Sunrise when arriving at Wildlife Drive entrance, Little Blackwater River, Canon 1D mkIV, 12-24mm lens @ 24mm
Pre-Sunrise, Wildlife Drive entrance, Little Blackwater River, single image, @75mm, 24-105mm, 1D mkIV
Sunrise along Wildlife Drive entrance, Little Blackwater River, 24-105mm @ 24mm, 8 image pano, 1D mkIV
Sunrise along Wildlife Drive, Little Blackwater River, 24-105mm @ 24mm, 10 image pano, 1D mkIV
Sunrise along Wildlife Drive, Little Blackwater River, 24-105mm @ 24mm, 1D mkIV
Sunrise along Wildlife Drive, Little Blackwater River, 24-105mm @ 24mm, 8 image pano, 1D mkIV
Sunrise along Wildlife Drive, Little Blackwater River, 24-105mm @ 85mm, 12 image pano, 1D mkIV
Sunrise along Wildlife Drive, Little Blackwater River, 24-105mm @ 105mm, 2 horizontal images, stacked, 1D mkIV

Bald Eagles On Branches At Blackwater NWR

A few more Bald Eagle images taken in December 2008 from the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. The Featured Image was taken with a Canon 400mm DO lens with a Canon 1.4x Teleconverter on a Canon 1DmkIV.

Bald Eagle, Blackwater NWR, 400mm DO lens, 1.4x Teleconverter, Canon 1D mkIII

More Bald Eagles From Blackwater NWR

During our visit to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland we did see quite a few Bald Eagles flying in the distance. But many not close enough to photograph. We did finally find a few to get somewhat closer images. These images are also cropped in quite a lot to have the Bald Eagles large enough to see in the image. The Featured Bald Eagle was in a tree by the Entrance to the Wildlife Drive.

Bald Eagle on branch, image @ 600m, Canon R

Blackwater NWR Mergansers

On our visit to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, I was looking for some different photo subjects than the usual ones we see. I did find some Mergansers in different areas along the Wildlife Drive. The Featured Image is a Hooded Merganser. It was swimming in a small water channel under a bunch of trees so I hardly could make it out in the shadows. It was just one black blob moving in the water so I adjusted my exposure in the camera to +1 stop hoping that would be enough to get some detail. Then when working on the image in Adobe Camera Raw, adjust the shadows in the Raw file to bring out more detail in the shadows and reduce the noise in the image. So it seemed to work out ok. This was taken with a Canon R with a 150-600mm lens @ 600mm. Then near the end of the Wildlife Drive I found a pair (male & female) of Common Mergansers swimming in the channel.

Female & Male Common Mergansers, Canon R, Tamron 150-600mm, @600mm, heavy crop to image

Blackwater NWR iPhone Multi-Image Panoramas

On our visit to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge I was traveling light thinking only of Birds & Wildlife images. I only was using a Canon R with a Tamron 150-600mm lens. But when we got there the clouds with the landscapes were amazing. So I tried shooting quite a few multi-image panoramas with a variety of the iPhone lenses. The featured image is 10 vertical images (4:3 format iPhone format) assembled and blended in Photoshop.

BWR landscape, iPhone 11 Pro, 4img, 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera field of view ~ 13mm)
BWR Landscape, iPhone 11 Pro, 4.3mm lens, Panorama mode (“bowing” Horizon Distortion from iPhone pano mode corrected in Photoshop)
View from Visitor Center – 9 image, iPhone 11 Pro, 6mm lens (Full Frame Camera Field of View ~52mm)
BWR Visitor Center, 1.5mm lens, iPhone 11 Pro, (Full Frame Camera field of view ~ 13mm)
BWR Wildlife Drive, 10 vertical images, 1.5mm lens, iPhone 11 Pro
BWR Observation Platform, 1.5mm lens, 6 Horizontal images panorama
BWR Observation Platform, iPhone 11 Pro, 4.3mm lens, 4 vertical image panorama
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