Bald Eagle Soaring At Blackwater NWR

I am still going through my backup hard drives for images to post on the blog.  I think we will finally be able to go to some local parks tomorrow to get some recent images to post on the blog.  One in particular usually has Bluebirds this time of year. The images posted here are from a previous trip years ago to Blackwater NWR in Maryland. They were taken soon after we got there early in the morning as the sun was rising. To bad the Eagle was flying away from me, but I liked the colorful sky that helped make the images interesting.  All images were taken with a 400mm Canon DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on a 1D series body.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

These were taken years ago at my pond in our old yard. I did not realize that when we removed a 20×40 ft pool and put in a large pond it would turn into my outdoor Macro & Wildlife Studio. Got lots of interesting images there. Also got to try many different techniques to photograph small subjects across the pond.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly – 400mm w/ 1.4X Teleconverter

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Snow Geese Fly By

This large group of Snow Geese was flying in a long & low to the water flock of birds. The white Snow Geese overlapping the bright sun lit water really blended in with the bright water, but I thought it was still an interesting image. Image from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge a few years ago. Shot with a Canon 400mm DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter.

 

 

22 Image Damselfly Focus Stack

Another Focus-Stacked Damselfly Image. This time I tried shooting stopped down to f/22. I usually do not stop down that far for stacked images, but I thought I would give it a try just to see what happens. For this image the out of focus background was further away from the subject damselfly which helped because of the f/22 f/stop giving a larger depth of field for that focal length. At f/22 with 22 images, it was probably overkill for this image, but if I needed them, I would have them. Better than needing them and not having them. Again I used a Sigma 150mm macro lens with a Canon 1.4X Teleconverter giving me a focal length of 210mm. This Damselfly and Water Drops did not have as much depth to the leaves & water drops so I did not need as many as my previous post especially with the f/22 f/stop.

 

Image Stacking For Detail With Soft Backgrounds

Quite often I use Image Stacking techniques for my macro images. This works best if you are using a longer macro lens for shallower depth of field & softer cleaner backgrounds. I shot with the lens wide open and take images starting from the closest area I want in focus & ending where I want the background to go softer. The image I chose for this blog is one I photographed years ago. It was photographed using a tripod with a Sigma 150mm Macro lens & 1.4x Canon Teleconverter.  I also went a little overboard on layers, but because I was using a 150mm lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter I shot more focus points than usual. I ended up with 44 images in this stack. But shooting @ f/2.8 & adding the 1.4x teleconverter it was actually f/4 (Wide Open). I started from the bottom of the image & worked my way up to the top. You can also not use all the layers if you want to select where the softness ends or begins. Here I purposely ended where I wanted it to end. You can also use a smaller aperture / larger f/stop number to use less images for the stack but I like the smoother background.

I then load all the images into one Photoshop layered file and select all layers.

A) Under Edit – chose Auto Align Layers

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(B) then select Edit – Auto-Blend Layers – for final blending.

Below is Final Blended file on the top layer in Photoshop with all the sharpest sections of each Layer (masked) below the final layer.

 

Screen Shot b

I use this technique with my macro images mainly to get the greatest detail on my main subject and the softest backgrounds behind them. You can also control how much sharpness you have on your subject and where the softness starts. With practice the results get more reliable for what you are envisioning when you are photographing them. Also you can change your mind after you captured the series and have the detail or less detail where you want it while you are adjusting your files.

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First Image in Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Oystercatchers

I photographed these American Oystercatchers from a much earlier trip to the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. We saw quite a few Oystercatchers around especially by the waters edge. They seem to be very skiddish birds so I was using a Canon 400mm DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on 7D Camera (for a Full Frame Field of View ~ 896mm). I really like their bright colored beak and eyes! They really stand out!

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Snowy Egret Bad Feather Day

These are from a previous visit years ago to Lake Woodruff NWR in DeLand Florida. The wind picked up some and I liked the ruffled feathers on this Snowy Egret. I was using  100 – 400mm zoom with a 1.4x teleconverter to get a little closer view.

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