Waving Great Blue Heron

We were setup on the Wildlife Drive at this popular spot at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It is a fairly wide open area with sandbars where birds tend to land and flock to. Plus a lot of activity in the water around it. A lot of people also fish here so it gets very crowded for photographers! Sometimes there are up to 40 or more people here photographing the birds. This Great Blue almost looks like it is waving to us. I also liked the Cormorant swimming by in the background. Image taken @800mm.

Osprey In Tree Sunset

As the sun was setting and the sky was glowing orange I noticed this Osprey in a tree along the Wildlife Drive at J. N. Ding Darling NWR on our way out of the Refuge. I liked the stark dark Osprey & tree silo against the colorful sky. Image taken with 400mm DO lens.

Willet Shorebird – Eye To Eye with Prey

I came across this Willet looking for a meal at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida. These are from a visit years ago. I was using a Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 lens on a Canon 1D MkIII. These are all at 800mm. It caught a small reddish orange crab that seemed to only have one eye. It was trying to swallow it but as it was trying it lost its grip and was holding it by one leg. Then that leg broke off and the crab fell into the water. But it managed to catch it again and have it’s meal.  I thought the crab got away but the Willet won in the end.Eye2eye_Willet_800mm_3-8_1DmkIII_v1_80I9608-2Eye2Eye_Willet_800mm_1DmkIII_80I9613-2Eye2Eye_Willet_v1_oops_800mm_3-8_1DmkIII_80I9615-2Eye2Eye_Willet_oops_800mm_3-8_1DmkIII_DD_80I9616Eye2EyeWilletRecov_v1_800mm_3-8_1DmkIII_80I9618-3

Reddish Egret In Shadows

I found this Reddish Egret foraging in the water along the Wildlife Drive at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Because the Egret was in the shade, the auto white balance enhanced the dappled sunlight with a warmer golden glow to the spots of sun on the featured image. We actually saw quite a few Reddish Egrets through the Refuge. All images taken with a 400mm DO lens with 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon 7D.

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Reddish Egret strolling in sunlight

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Reddish Egret Foraging

American Alligators At Ding Darling NWR

This is a series of images featuring American Alligators from a previous visit to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Because Alligators are long and thin, it seemed to make sense to photograph them with some panoramas! This way you also limit a lot of empty water areas on top & bottom of the image making your subject alligator more the focus of your image. All images were taken with a Canon 400mm DO lens with a Canon 7D. The featured image is made from 4 images to fit all of the Alligator in the finished panorama. You also have to photograph your series of images quickly because your subject is actually swimming along as you are photographing them. So by photographing the series quickly it helps to minimize the slight difference in the overlapping images.

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Head Shot, 1 image, 400mm, Canon 7D

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3/4 Alligator Image, 400mm, Canon 7D (Single Image)

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2 Image Panorama, 400mm, Canon 7D

 

Red-shouldered Hawk Take-Off Series

I am still going through files from past photo trips. Now that I am retired I have time to go back and work on images I had not gotten to adjust before. Work always seemed to get in the way. This is a series of images of a Red-shouldered Hawk take-off from a small branch at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida.  I was using a 400mm DO lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter on a Canon 7D (for an effective Full Frame Camera equivalent field of view of ~896mm). Many times at Ding Darling you see interesting photo opportunities but the subjects are quite far away. So it is fun to try different ways to photograph distant subjects. The more you try different techniques, the better your results and are more predictable. With a 1.4x teleconverter I would stop the lens down 1 more stop than I would usually use.  For a 2x teleconverter I would stop the lens down 2 stops more. With a 1.7x teleconverter I would also stop down 2 more stops than usual. Yes I actually found a 1.7x teleconverter for Canon lenses.

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I was surprised it kept focus on the hawk and not on the branches as I was tracking the hawk.

 

Anhingas In Trees

I was walking along the Wildlife Drive at the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge when I came upon this Anhinga. We tend to like walking along the Drive because you see more wildlife and have more opportunities for getting interesting photos. Plus you are not in the middle of large groups of photographers photographing the same subject at some of the main photo hotspots there.

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Immature American White Ibises Foraging

We found a group of immature American White Ibises working an area for their morning meal. They seemed to have great success in finding their breakfast. All images were shot with a Canon 400mm DO lens.

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White Ibis foraging – 2 image panorama, 400mm Canon DO lens, handheld, assembled in Photoshop

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Immature American White Ibis foraging – 2 image Vertical Panorama

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Little Egret Panorama

I was photographing along the Indigo Trail at the Ding Darling NWR early in the morning on this day. We finally had found a large number of birds along the trail. It was quite dark under the trees, but we managed to get a lot of images of a variety of Egrets and Herons while they were foraging for food. With this Egret, I liked it’s reflection in the water and it was just keeping an eye on me as I was photographing it. After shooting a few images of the Egret, I shot vertical images for a long panorama. I was traveling light on this walk so I only had the 400mm DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. It was quite dark under all the trees so I had to raise my ISO higher than I like. After assembling in Photoshop, I trimmed the left & right sides a little so the Egret would be more prominent in the long vertical image. Then removed some “noise” from using a higher ISO than normal.

 

Osprey Nests On Platforms At J.N. Ding Darling NWR

As we were driving on the Wildlife Drive at the J.N. Ding Darling NWR, we noticed the Osprey Platform was occupied. If you had a long lens and got fairly far down the road you could get some interesting images of them on the nest. The first few images were from closeby, looking more up at the nest. You can see they were looking at us. But I did not like how the nests looked messy and did not like the angle.

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Closeup, Different Day

Views of different nest from farther away, along the Wildlife Drive. The nest looks cleaner and has nicer sky and more of a side view.

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