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.

Blackwater River Panorama Landscapes Near Sundown

When we were going to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, we planned for the first day to include the sunset and the second day to be there for the sunrise. Usually they are very dramatic and colorful at Blackwater NWR. Normall we go to the end of the Wildlife Drive for sunsets and the beginning of the Wildlife Drive for sunrise. The sunrises are better on the Little Blackwater River. While the sunsets are better by the Blackwater River. While we were on the Wildlife Drive heading for the far end, we noticed and liked the colorful clouds on the Blackwater River so we stopped and shot a few panoramas as the sun was getting lower. Even with 12mm or 24mm lenses, it still did not give me all I wanted in my shots. So I shot a series of images handheld, to blend together to get the view I wanted. The featured image was a series of shots in a vertical format to blend together. I wanted to include more sky and reflections in the water. The image below was a series of images shot horizontally to blend together.  With 12mm or 24mm lenses it seems like you have to shoot the images with a lot more overlap on each image than with longer lenses. Also instead of using Photoshop to automatically align and blend the images, they come out better to manually align each image manually and make soft edge masks to blend together for the final image. Photoshop tends to really distort the few images on each end and distort the edges badly, especially the extreme images on each end. The clouds and reflections then look really distorted and warped.

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Blackwater NWR Early Morning Landscape

Going through my old files looking for images to post. This was taken at the Blackwater NWR in Maryland early in the morning along the Wildlife Drive. I used my small Panasonic Pocket Camera. I usually keep a small pocket camera or a m43 camera with a 14-140mm lens with me for Photo Subjects that require a wider view, since my main camera usually here has a 400mm lens with a 1.4X teleconverter. I have tried my iPhone for this but I feel it is not quite as good as I would want it to be. I have used the iPhone, but that is usually when I do not have any other camera with me.

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