Soaring Swallow-tailed Kites

On one of our trips to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida we saw quite a few Swallow-tailed Kites flying above us. They were fun to see soaring as we were walking the trails. Usually they were really high up in the sky or far off in the distance so we never got good images of them. But the images here are from one visit when they were soaring right above us near the parking lot. They were still really high above us but I thought they were still interesting images. All images were taken with a Canon 400mm DO lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter on a Canon 1DmkIV.

Whooping Cranes Flying With Sandhill Cranes At Lake Woodruff NWR

On our trip years ago to the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in DeLand Florida we were surprised to see a few Whooping Cranes flying and forging with the Sandhill Cranes. It was fun to see them interacting with the Sandhill Cranes. They were mostly far out in the fields but I managed to get a few images with them flying together in a flock. Image taken with a Canon 1D mk III with a Sigma 300-800mm lens @ 800mm with a Canon 1D mkIII.

More Sandhill Crane Panoramas From Lake Woodruff NWR

I am still going through Sandhill Crane images that were shot for making panoramas since they were so close to me as I was photographing them. Usually it is a reverse problem where your subjects are too far away as you are photographing them. All images in this post are taken with a 300mm lens on a Canon R. The Featured Image is a 2 horizontal image panorama combined in Photoshop.

2 Horizontal Image Stacked Panorama, 300mm, Canon R
Sandhill Cranes, 5 Horizontal images pano, 300mm, Canon R

Sandhill Crane Panoramas From Lake Woodruff NWR

These are from a trip a couple of years ago to Lake Woodruff NWR. It is located in Volusia County, Florida near the community of DeLeon Springs. It is a very interesting NWR to visit and is surprisingly empty of visitors except for the Wildlife. If you see a few groups of visitors there it is not the norm. Many times you are there almost completely by yourself which because of the size it is a little strange feeling. The famed St Johns River forms the western boundary of the 22,000-acre refuge. The refuge contains a wide variety of habitats. Among them are marshes, swamps, creeks, hammocks and uplands. One of my favorite birds besides Bald Eagles are Sandhill Cranes which seem to really like this Refuge. On this day there were quite a few Sandhill Cranes roaming around the ponds close to the entrance. It is very strange to have a bird that large walk right up to you to check you out. Many times you are just a few feet from them. On previous visits they were more wary and did not get close. I was just using a Canon 7D with a 300mm lens for wildlife and my iP11 Pro for landscapes. The Featured Image is a 7 horizontal images panorama stacked vertically to get the whole Crane in. When shooting panoramas of slowly moving birds foraging you still have to shoot the sequence very quickly to have the images line up correctly without having to do a lot of touch-ups on the overlaps.

Sandhill Cranes, 5 – 300mm Horizontal Images, Stacked Vertically, assembled in Photoshop
Sandhills Making Noise, iP11 Pro
Tail Feathers, 300mm, Canon 7D

Lake Woodruff NWR Multi-Image iPhone Panoramas

Many times when we are out walking in Wildlife Refuges I carry a main camera with a 400mm lens or a 150-600mm zoom lens and a m43 camera with wide angle 14-140mm lens. I also have in my photo vest a few Teleconverters just in case I see something interesting farther out for the full frame camera. But as I am getting older I am using my iP11 Pro more for the Wider or Multi-Image Landscape Panorama shots. The Featured Image is made with the iP11 Pro using the 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera Equivalent ~13mm). I shot 14 images, shooting 3 rows of 4 images and then 2 images in the center just as a precaution to make sure the images line up successfully. When using the iP11’s 1.5mm lens I overlap the images even more than if I was using the 4.3mm or 6mm lens. Photoshop does a good job lining up and blending the multi-rowed images from the iPhone..

Lake Woodruff NWR Landscape, iP11 Pro, 4.3mm lens, 8 image panorama. 2 rows of 4 overlapping image.
Lake Woodruff NWR Early Morning Sunrise, iP11 Pro, 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera Equivalent ~13mm) 6 image panorama. 2 rows of 3 images

Limpkin Images From Lake Woodruff NWR

I am still going through images that I never got around to posting when I was still working. And with Covid-19 restrictions it is giving me a chance to go through old images from previous photo trips. These are from one of my favorite National Wildlife Refuges, Lake Woodruff NWR, which is near the community of DeLeon Springs, Florida. The refuge is 21,574 acres of freshwater marshes, 5,800 acres of Cypress and mixed hardwood swamps, 2,400 acres of uplands, and more than 1,000 acres of lakes, streams, and canals. This was from a trip in March of 2005. So it goes back quite a ways! But it is a Great Refuge to photograph in. Especially when the Sandhill Cranes are all over the Refuge!

Limpkin, Lake Woodruff NWR, 100-400mm w/ 1.4x, 560mm, Canon DmkII
Limpkin, Lake Woodruff NWR, 100-400mm w/ 1.4x, 560mm, Canon 1DmkII
Limpkin, Lake Woodruff NWR, 100-400mm w/ 1.4x, 560mm, Canon 1DmkII
Limpkin, Lake Woodruff NWR, 100-400mm w/ 1.4x, 560mm, Canon 1DmkII

Sandhill Crane Portrait

We decided to go on a quick trip to Florida to one of our favorite NWRs, Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in DeLeon Springs, Florida. We were only there for a few days, but it was an amazing spot for photos of wildlife and landscapes. The Sandhill Cranes and River Otters were not disappointing! As we were walking the trails, Sandhill Cranes would land right in front of us giving us fantastic photo opportunities. Sometimes it was strange to have them land & walk right up to you. They would just stare at you checking you out! We were traveling light and most of the time I was using a 300mm or a 150-600mm lens. For detail or landscapes I used my iPhone 11Pro. Since I was traveling light, a lot of my images of Sandhill Cranes I had to shoot a series of images for a panorama to get the whole Crane in. Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is not one of the NWRs that gets a lot of visitors or attention. You are pretty much on your own except for a few locals walking or birding there.  But for us it is one of our favorite NWRs to visit. It does not have a visitor center and has a small parking lot down a small road that is only wide enough for 1 car. So if you meet someone going the other way you have to pull over so 1 can pass. The 22,000-acre refuge contains a myriad habitats: among them are marshes, swamps, creeks, hammocks and uplands. We only found it years ago because there was an accident on Route 95 that closed the highway overnight. So we had to stay at a motel and at breakfast the waitress asked where we were going. We said we were going to Ding Darling NWR for photography and she said we should go to Lake Woodruff NWR and might like it better. She was right! Sometimes you really feel quite alone when walking the trails, except for the wildlife.Sandhill_Cranes_Portrait_v1_LW__7D_300mm_MG_7978

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