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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Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly From Davidson’s Mill Pond Park

I am going through my dragonfly images shot earlier this Summer at various locations. These are Slaty Skimmers photographed at Davidson’s Mill Pond Park in Monmouth County, New Jersey. For these I used a Canon 7D (1.6 crop sensor) 300mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter to get closer since my subjects did not want to cooperate and come closer to the edge of the pond.

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Slaty Skimmer – Side View @ 960mm (Field Of View)

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Slaty Skimmer Closeup Wing Detail

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Slaty Skimmer – Side View

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Slaty Skimmer – 3/4 rear view

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Slaty Skimmer – Side View

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Slaty Skimmer – Side View

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Slaty Skimmer Wing Detail

Blackwater Osprey Platforms

Along the Wildlife Drive there are a few Osprey Platforms close enough to photograph. If you are patient and have a long lens, you can usually get some good flight images as they fly in and out of the nests there. Usually in the morning or later in the afternoon. On this day they seemed content to just hang out there or fly away from where I was on the Wildlife Drive. The Ospreys in the platform closest to the entrance were busy fishing before the sun came up but it was too dark to photograph them. But it was nice to hear them screeching as they were flying around the Little Blackwater River area where I was waiting for the sunrise.

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Slaty Skimmer Head-On View

I am always trying different ways to photograph Dragonflies and Damselflies. At one location most of the dragonflies are not where I can get close to get the detail I want. So I have to come up with different ways to photograph them. Here I was trying a 300mm lens with close focusing capability. I also added a 2X teleconverter, so using a Canon 1.6 crop sensor camera I had a FOV equivalent of 960mm of a full frame camera. Some shots I also added a short extension tube between the lens and the teleconverter which also enlarges the image on the sensor a little more. But doing this you cannot focus to infinity, but I did not need that ability to photograph Dragonflies.Slaty Skimmer v1 3img_960mm_DM 7 18Slaty_Skimmer_v8_DM 960mmSlaty_Skimmer_v9_DM_960mm_MG_3912Slaty_Skimmer_v1a_DM_7_18_MG_3920

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail On Butterfly Bush

I was going through older images to look for some colorful images to post on the blog. These were from my old home by my pond. This was on the other side of the pond probably 20 feet from my camera. Even with a 400mm lens the image would not have filled the frame like I wanted, so I started experimenting with different ways to get closer. So by adding a short extension tube, then a 1.4x teleconverter, then another extension tube I was able actually starting to get what I wanted in the frame. It took hours of experimenting with different sized extension tubes, teleconverters and teleconverter and extension tube placement for different results resulting in a large image on the camera’s sensor.

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More Bluebirds from Davidsons Mill Pond Park

The Bluebirds seem to be quite active at Davidson’s Mill Pond Park. They seem to be constantly interacting with the Tree Swallows around the Bluebird Boxes. Here are some more images from my walk in the park looking for Bluebirds.

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Chipping Sparrow In Tree

While I was photographing the Bluebirds I saw a few different types of Sparrows and Finches. This Chipping Sparrow was watching me from a nearby tall tree, so I got a few shots while the Bluebirds were out in the fields. I usually photograph raptors and larger birds like herons, egrets, etc., so it was fun to photograph these smaller birds, but more of a challenge since they are smaller targets. Plus harder to get close images of them because they are so skittish. I found if I just setup in an area with a bunch of trees around me they would fly to where I could get good shots. I was shooting with a 2X teleconverter & a Canon 1.6X crop camera body so it was approximately equivalent to 1280mm on a full frame camera.

Below are a sampling of some of the different birds that stopped by to see what I was doing. A variety of sparrows and a House Finch.

 

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