Wood Stork Preening

I am going through backup drives looking for images to post here since we are staying home during the virus outbreak. It actually gives me time to go through backup drives and clean out files that I do not need to make more space. Also I am finding images I have not worked on before. We saw this preening Wood Stork in the water along the Wildlife Drive at the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. I was using a Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 zoom lens and the featured images was taken at 800mm. I liked the “splash of color” of the Roseate Spoonbill in the foreground.


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.



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


Alligators From Ding Darling NWR

I am going through my backup drives trying to clean out files for the New Year that are not needed or duplicates. But in the process I am finding files I have not used or adjusted. Work always seemed to get in the way! Here are a few from a trip years ago in 2011 to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. All images were taken with a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens on a Canon 7D. We were walking the Indigo Trail & Cross Dike Trail and came upon a couple of alligators sunning themselves. The featured image with the alligator was in the shade under some branches near the edge of the water as we walked past. For some reason it seems like it is almost smiling in the images.

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Same Alligator from farther away before I decided to get closer.   ( 400mm, Canon 7D )

This Alligator below was further down the trail from the featured Alligator. Again I shot 2 images for the panorama. I have since changed my technique by shooting more images for my panoramas. With adding more images for the panorama at different focus points, I can use an f/stop of f/8 or so. This way I get a more even focus across the whole panorama. If I do not need them I just skip to the next frame in the series of images. But at least I know I have enough images to use for making the pano. It is amazing how fast these alligators can move when they want to.

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Another Alligator further down the trail – 2 – 400mm images stacked panorama @ f/11, assembled in Photoshop





Early Morning With American White Ibises Foraging In Trees

Getting to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge early in the morning I was looking for photo subjects. When I was there it was not the best time of year for an abundance of photo subjects, but it was still fun to see what I could find. And it was nice to be in the Florida sunshine. You could hear rustling of leaves and knew a few birds were foraging in the lower branches of the trees. So I was waiting for them to come to me so not to scare them off. With all the branches it was hard to get clear shots of them, but it shows how they forage. This group had about a dozen Ibises, but most were hidden by the branches. Not great images but it was fun to watch them.IBIS v1_MG_2120 v2Ibis v1_MG_2144

Immature Yellow-crowned Night-heron Walk By

This Immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron just walked by right in front of me. Usually they are quite skiddish and do not stay out in the open in front of you, so I was surprised it just was walking along the shoreline. I also find it interesting that immature Yellow-crowns have a black beak and immature Black-crowned Night-Herons have a yellowish beak. Here in New Jersey they are rare, so it is fun to find so many in Florida.

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Yellow-crowned Night-heron Taking a Stroll
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 400mm DO IS f/4, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, -0.33 exposure compensation, ISO 800


This Snowy Egret stood out against the shorebirds and seemed to look a little lonely. He stayed there for quite a while until more shorebirds flew in and the Snowy moved on.

Ospreys at J.N. Ding Darling NWR

Because of my busy work schedule, I usually do not get to work on some of my personal files as soon as I would like. Going through my Ding Darling files I found quite a few that I wanted to work on. Here are some Ospreys from that trip. It is fun to photograph them fishing an area for their meal, diving into the water to catch a fish. Ding Darling is so large that it is hard to get Ospreys fishing. Usually you see them here flying by to another area or in a tree eating what they have caught. All images here were taken with a Canon 7D with the 400mm f/4 DO with a Canon 1.4X teleconverter giving a effective combined focal length of 896mm at f/5.6. This combination works well when you are photographing in a large open area plus it is extremely hand holdable for fast moving subjects. With the 7D it is important to shoot Raw images and use Adobe Camera Raw or the Canon Software that comes with your camera to process your files to control your image noise for cleaner images. If you ever get to Ding Darling look for them flying through the refuge or sitting in trees along the Wildlife Drive, either resting or eating their catch. Also note that J. N. Ding Darling’s Wildlife Drive is closed on Fridays. Hope you enjoy them.

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