Praying Mantises In The Garden

I was looking in our gardens for Praying Mantises to photograph. I found 2 fairly large ones on two different plants. The featured image is 7 images, focus stacked in Photoshop. I was using a 300mm lens with a 2x teleconverter. When doing focus stacking with live subjects you have to photograph your series of images quickly, because you can touch-up slight movement of your subject, but if there is a lot of movement it makes the blending of images much harder.

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Smaller Praying Mantis, 2 Image Focus Stack, 300mm, 2x teleconverter

Banded Hairstreak Butterfly

I was out in the yard looking for macro subjects after the Tropical Storm Isaias. In our community we had a few large branches come down from the strong winds, but nothing too major from what we saw during an early morning walk. We did not loose power, but 40% of our town lost power and close by towns were without power. Apparently it will take days for all power to be up again. A lot of the roads are closed and takes hours to try to get anywhere. Even close by stores are probably without power also, from what neighbors said that tried.
In the yard we found a Banded Hairstreak Butterfly in a Dwarf Alberta Spruce by our front door. I was able to get a few images before it disappeared in the Alberta Spruce. I was using a Sigma 150mm macro with a Canon 2x teleconverter.Banded Hairstreak_v2_150mm_2x_7D__MG_1757

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Chipping Sparrow on a Branch

We had gone to a local park, Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, and noticed quite a few Chipping Sparrows flying around. The Sparrows were on the branches that were near the top of the tree. I was using a 400mm Canon DO lens with a 2x teleconverter to get closer and cropped the images slightly.
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Northern Shoveler Duck In Warm Early Morning Light

I noticed this Male Northern Shoveler Duck swimming towards me in the early morning. I liked the warm light of the rising sun on the water, but as the Shoveler got closer it looked a little annoyed and started swimming faster. It then veered to the side and chased another duck that was behind trees & down a channel so I could not photograph more of the action going on. I was using a 400mm lens with a 2x teleconverter.

 

Damselfly 8 Image Focus Stack

When I was photographing this Damselfly, I decided to shoot with the aperture wide open. I wanted a very smooth background to highlight the Damselfly and the water drops and keep a smooth background. So I shot a series of 8 images focusing on the Damselfly and the water drop covered stem. I shot a series focused on 8 different focus points, going from left to right. I was using a Sigma 150mm Macro with a 2x teleconverter. With the 2x teleconverter on my 150mm f/2.8 lens, my maximum (Aperture) f/stop was f/5.6 wide open.  (With a 2x teleconverter you loose 2 stops). I loaded the 8 images into 1 Photoshop layered file and used Photoshop to automatically align the 8 layers in the file. Next I used Photoshop to automatically pick the the sharpest areas & soft background areas in each layer for the final image. I saved that file in case I need to make minor touch ups here or there. After that I flattened the layers for my final image.

Osprey Flyover

It is always fun to photograph Ospreys flying overhead. And the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge,  Brigantine Division in Oceanville, NJ usually has quite a few around the Wildlife Drive. Especially in nesting season. I was using a Canon 400mm DO Lens with a 2x teleconverter to photograph these flying Ospreys.
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Cattle Egret @ 800mm

Another series of images @ 800mm. This time a Cattle Egret that was balancing on a sign along the Wildlife Drive at the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, New Jersey. It was interesting to see it hanging on to the sign with it’s large feet. I did not want the sign to show so I was composing more for portraits against the nice blue sky. Because it was on top of the sign, I was sort of looking up at it. Most were taken with a 400mm lens with a 2x teleconverter. I shot a few different angles and views before moving on leaving the Egret sunning there. Before finding this Cattle Egret on the drive we also passed a small group foraging on the ground.
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2 overlapping vertical images @ 800mm for Panorama

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First image in series shot @ 400mm before moving a little closer & adding the 2x teleconverter 

Osprey Nest @ 800mm & 1280mm

These images are from a previous trip years ago to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Oceanville Division, in New Jersey. Along the Wildlife Drive there are quite a few Osprey platforms providing good opportunities to photograph Ospreys on nests. Quite often you can also see them with the Osprey nestlings. If you wait long enough you can see them bringing fish to the nests and feeding the chicks.

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Osprey Nest @ 800mm

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Osprey Nest @ 1280mm

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Osprey Nest @1280mm, plus some image crop

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Osprey Nest @1280mm, plus some image crop

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Osprey Nest @ 800mm

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Osprey Nest @ 800mm, plus some image crop

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Osprey saying “Who you looking at!”

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26 Cormorants Panorama

The Winter months give me an opportunity to go through images I have not worked on before. This is a multi-image panorama from a past trip to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey. I thought it was interesting to see so many Cormorants lined up on these small pilings. Many times you see large groups even bigger than this group swimming in the channels here, but never saw this many in a group on pilings. 5 Images shot at 800mm, aligned and blended in Photoshop.

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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