Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

We had gone to the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve to see if we could find a few interesting dragonflies to photograph for the blog. The Preserve was still overloaded with Cicadas but there were quite a few Dragonflies flying around on the paths. It was fun to find this Immature Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly along the main path. The featured image was taken with a Canon 300mm lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter @ f/6.3 for a smoother background. Below are other views at various f/stops.

Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/5.6
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/8
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/8
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/11
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/7.1

Tree Swallows From Davidsons Mill Pond Park

The Eastern Bluebirds and the Tree Swallows were really going at it to secure the nesting boxes that are scattered about the park. Quite a few are along one stretch of the main open area. A lot of activity, but they were all over the place so with the camera & lens I was using I did not get any of the action shots. I was using the Canon R with the 150-600mm Tamron lens with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter for a focal length of 1200mm. Here are a series of images of the Tree Swallows around some of the nesting boxes.

Tree Swallow, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm focal length
Tree Swallow, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm focal length
Tree Swallows, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm
Tree Swallow, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm

Eastern Bluebirds Return To Davidsons Mill Pond Park

Eastern Bluebirds have started returning to Davidsons Mill Pond Park. I wanted to go photograph them but decided to use a very long lens so as not to bother them as they are finding their homes in the BlueBird Boxes scattered around the park. There is a lot of activity around the nesting boxes because the Tree Swallows are also trying to take over the Bluebird boxes. So a lot of back & forth between them. I decided to use a 150-600mm Tamron lens @ 600mm with a 2X teleconverter with a Canon R giving me a focal length of 1200mm. The Canon R can still autofocus with that combination of the 150-600mm Tamron lens & the Sigma 2X Teleconverter which helps with my old eyes! It was a fun photo outing and hope that soon the Dragonflies are next to return! I also smoothed out out the backgrounds somewhat because of the flowering trees & branches in the background to give a smoother clean background with the Bluebirds.

Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R

Northern Cardinal Outside Our Front Door

For a while now we have been enjoying the visiting birds on the top of our neighbors tree across from our front door. Today it was a very colorful male Northern Cardinal. So I shot a series of images using a Tamron 150-600mm lens with a Sigma 2X teleconverter on a Canon R. This gave me a final focal length of 1200mm so I upped my ISO since I was handholding the camera. The Canon R autofocused fine with this combination. Images were taken @ 1/500 sec, f/11, 1000 ISO. As I was photographing him, he kept an eye on me in the first few minutes. After a while he just kept looking to the left & right.

More Bald Eagles From Blackwater NWR

During our visit to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland we did see quite a few Bald Eagles flying in the distance. But many not close enough to photograph. We did finally find a few to get somewhat closer images. These images are also cropped in quite a lot to have the Bald Eagles large enough to see in the image. The Featured Bald Eagle was in a tree by the Entrance to the Wildlife Drive.

Bald Eagle on branch, image @ 600m, Canon R

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

Blackwater NWR Snow Geese In-Flight Panoramas

On our visit to Blackwater NWR we saw quite a few large groups of Tundra Swans & Canada Geese, but I was looking for large groups of Snow Geese. There was one large group way out in the Blackwater River, but none close to photograph. Also saw one large group in the distance behind the Visitor Center but could not get a clear image of them from the Wildlife Drive. After driving one loop of the Wildlife Drive we stopped by the Visitor Center to photograph a large group of Canada Geese in the fields by the Center. Then off to the left of the Visitor Center I noticed a large group of Snow Geese flying in. It was still early so I liked the color of the sky behind them. When photographing multi-image panoramas of flying birds I tend to photograph them from the far end of the direction they are flying and shoot my series as quickly as I can. So if the group is flying to the right, I start my series on the far left and shoot quickly going along with them to the right to capture the whole group. If you go the opposite way you get more uneven spacing and more spacing between the birds in the group. Which is harder to touch up for the final image. The featured image is 5 images shot with a Tamron 150-600mm @600mm on a Canon R. These are about 80 – 122 inches for the original file, so making them so small in length for the post I loose some detail in the image.

Snow Geese Panorama, 19 Image Panorama, Tamron 150-600mm @ 600mm, Canon R
Snow Geese Panorama, 15 Image Panorama, Tamron 150-600mm @ 309mm, Canon R (final image 122 inches)
Snow Geese Panorama, 8 Image Panorama, Tamron 150-600mm @ 600mm, Canon R

Blackwater NWR Bald Eagle Nest

We finally decided to do a day trip to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge Maryland. Once there we mainly photographed from the car on the Wildlife Drive. Most of the large flocks of Snow Geese, Tundra Swans & Canada Geese were quite far out from the Wildlife Drive so I concentrated on what I could photograph. Also large flocks of birds flying were also off in the distance. There were some smaller groups of birds so I also did some smaller multi-image landscapes of the scattered birds to fill the image so it was more interesting. We did see quite a few Bald Eagles but all were very far off either flying high or in distant trees. Even photographing @600mm I had to crop some the images significantly. But I also did get a lot of multi-image landscape panoramas with my iPhone since the cloud formations were amazing on this visit. This featured Bald Eagle nest was on the final leg of the Wildlife Drive near the exit across from Pool 5B. The nest image was a 3 image panorama @600mm, then slightly cropped to center the nest. I could have fit it in 2 images, but it seems to blend better with an extra image. The nest was a little further down from where I photographed the Bald Eagle below.

Bald Eagle near a nest along the end of the Wildlife Drive (150-600mm, @600mm, Canon R, severe crop of image)
Bald Eagle near a nest along the end of the Wildlife Drive (150-600mm, @600mm, Canon R, severe crop of image)

Lake Mc_Cormack Panorama

When we were photographing the trees with strong shadows at Plainsboro Preserve for the previous post, I also shot a series of 7 vertical images of Lake McCormack @17mm for a wide panorama. When shooting at wide @ 17mm, I overlap my series of images more than my usual overlapping if using a longer lens.

Bench By Waters Edge, 50 acre Lake McCormack, 17-40mm lens @40mm

Audubon Plainsboro Preserve Winter Landscapes With Strong Shadows

We decided to go for a walk at the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve and see what we could find to photograph. The sun was somewhat low but that made long shadows in the landscapes and great starbursts on the lower sun in the sky. I was using one of my lenses that I do not use much – the Canon 17-40 mm lens.

Audubon Plainsboro Preserve,3 image Panorama, Canon 17-40mm @ 19mm, Canon R
Audubon Plainsboro Preserve, 3 Horizontal Images @17mm, stacked vertically, Canon R
Plainsboro Preserve Landscape Panorama, 4 Horizontal Images @ 17mm, Canon R
Plainsboro Preserve 2 Image Panorama, Canon 17-40mm @17mm, Canon R
Beaver Felled Trees Panorama, 8 Image Panorama, 17-40mm lens @ 40mm, Canon R
Trees with Shadows & Lake McCormack In Background, 2 Image Panorama @ 17-40mm @ 17mm, Canon R
Low Sun Lighting Small Tree with Yellow Leaves – 17-40mm @ 17mm, Canon R

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