Blackwater NWR Clouds At Sunset

I was working on files from previous photo trips. Now that I am retired I can go through my backup drives to post images that I did not have time to post before. This is a Sunset taken at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland a few years ago. Dramatic or interesting sunsets are quite often seen at Blackwater NWR. Some have told me that dramatic sunsets at Blackwater are because it is somewhat close to the coast. I am not sure on that, but Blackwater NWR does deliver on interesting sunrises & sunsets! Image taken with a 14-140mm lens @ 48mm on an Olympus body. I was going retouch out the aircraft contrails, but decided to leave them in.

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

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

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

Tundra Swans Along The Wildlife Drive

Along the Wildlife Drive at Blackwater NWR there are many large & small pools of water, besides the main bodies of water, the Blackwater River and the Little Blackwater River. These pools of water have various large groups of birds swimming, feeding and interacting. If you have long lenses it is fun to photograph the interactions of the birds. Also it is a good spot to shoot panoramas of them with a longer lens to get more detail instead of a wide angle lens with the birds looking like little dots. Sometimes there are very large groups of Tundra Swans, Snow Geese or Canada Geese with various ducks and other birds thrown in. If you are lucky you can also get mass takeoffs of a flock of Snow Geese or Swans taking flight. The images below are just showing a small section of the long pools of water. I included an image at the end of the Blackwater NWR map showing the pools and the pool names. The map also shows the Tubman Road Trail down the road, which is also an interesting area for photography.

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3 image panorama, handheld, Tundra Swans, Canada Geese & various ducks, etc. at Pools 5a & b on Wildlife Drive. 400mm with 1.4x teleconverter.

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5 image Panorama, handheld, Tundra Swans, Canada Geese and various ducks, etc. at Pools 5a & 5b On Wildlife Drive, 400mm with 1.4x teleconverter.

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Photographer phototographing Tundra Swans On other side of pool 5c. 400mm with 1.4x teleconverter.

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Blackwater NWR map showing the water pools & Tubman Road Trail.

Tundra Swans Fly-By

Getting around to working on more of my images from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Here are some of the Tundra Swans we saw at the refuge. Most of the time they were far out in pools along the Wildlife Drive. But occasionally we saw some fly by giving us an opportunity for some flight shots. These were on an overcast grayish blue sky day. The higher up the Swans were flying seemed to be a little bluer sky. Because of the gray day I had to raise my ISO higher than I usually use to get a shutter speed fast enough to stop the wing movement.

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Pair of Tundra Swans in Flight – 400mm, 1.4x teleconverter

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Higher Flight of Tundra Swans – 400mm, 1.4x teleconverterĀ 

More Blackwater NWR Landscapes and Panoramas

Some more panoramas & landscapes from our visit to Blackwater NWR. Featured image is a 3 image panorama, shot @ 48mm with a m43 Olympus and a 14-140mm lens. Assembled in Photoshop. Below are more assorted landscapes and panoramas from along the Wildlife Drive as the sun was setting.

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Sunset setting @24mm Olympus OMD mk-1

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Sun Setting along Wildlife Drive @14mm Olympus OMD mk-1

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BWR Sunset Along Wildlife Drive @32mm. Eagles roosting on first tall snag and forth tall snag. The nest is in a tree further down to the right. Olympus OMD mk-1

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BWR 3 img panorama before sunset @ 14mm, m43 Olympus OMD mk-1

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BWR Sunset @ 14mm m43, Olympus OMD mk-1

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BWR Sunset 14mm, 2 img stacked pano, @14mm, Olympus OMD mk-1

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