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 .

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

Blackwater Bald Eagles

On our photo trip to Blackwater NWR we were hoping to see a lot of Eagles. Winter is when they have the largest concentrations of Bald Eagles, so we were hoping for the best. We saw quite a few in the distance but not many close by. I saw one on the ground across from pool 3a, looking around with some feathers around so I assume it had a meal. This Eagle then flew into a nearby tree. Then, I believe the mate, joined him. This Eagle was on a snag in the water, on the other side of the Wildlife Drive. They were now a little closer, but I still needed to change my 1.4x teleconverter to a 2x to get even closer.  Then I got my tripod and stacked the 1.4x teleconverter with the 2x teleconverter to try to get even closer. I was using a Canon 1D MkIV with a 1.3x crop factor (from full frame DSLRs) so with this combination I had a field of view equivalent to 1120mm @ f/11 wide open, so I stopped down to f/16 & f /22 for a series of shots to see what I could get sharpness wise. Luckily my subjects cooperated and were fairly static movement wise. It was a somewhat dull day so I had to up my ISO more than I like to use. They cooperated for quite a while and they attracted quite a few other photographers, so we moved on.

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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.

bwr map pools

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

High Flight Of Snow Geese At Blackwater NWR

We went for 2 days to photograph at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland. Early in the morning, along the Wildlife Drive on the second day we saw a huge flock of Snow Geese flying out under a heavy cloud cover. They were quite high and took a few minutes for the waves of them to pass by. Probably 500 to 700 (or more) passed by in multiple waves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

14-140mm lens @ 14mm with Olympus OMD Mk1

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