800mm Fly By

Again from the archives, This Osprey had just hit the water, missed his catch and flew across in front of me. I was tracking him hoping he would come up with a fish, but I liked the small water droplets in his wake and the wing position even without his catch. I was using a Sigma 300-800mm zoom at 800mm, with a Canon EOS 1Ds MkII on a Wimberly Gimbel head. The Sigma is a non stabilized lens so you have to be careful and use long lens techniques, especially at 800mm, to get sharp images. I have a series of images, but was my favorite.

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.

Black and White at Brigantine NWR

Here is a brief selection of birds from the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Brigantine Division in Oceanville, NJ. Some are Summer visitors and the Snow Geese are Fall and Winter Visitors. Brigantine has a huge variety of birds & wildlife. Eagles, Ospreys, Egrets, Herons, shorebirds, gulls, terns, skimmers, rails, down to smaller birds. The birds here are White with Black (or Dark Brown). In bright light these can be a challenge to photograph and not blow out the whites and still retain detail in the dark areas. If they have black or dark brown coloring on them or a dark bird next to them, I capture in raw formats, depending on the make of the cameras. I usually underexpose slightly for the whites to retain details and open up the dark or shadow areas in the processing software.  I use Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop or Lightroom.  Sometimes I will do additional processing for sharpening in Photoshop and I use NIK Color Effects to bring out some additional details in the whites. You have to be careful not to add too much and bring out noise. Brigantine looks like it is coming back after Hurricane Sandy hit last year. We like Brigantine because of the wide variety of Birds & Wildlife photography, Landscapes, Sunsets, Sunrises, Macro – Bugs & Flora, the list is endless.

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Eagles and Raptors at Blackwater NWR

We enjoy going to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge outside of Cambridge, Maryland. You never know what you will find, so it is like going on a treasure hunt. It is a large refuge, so even though there are large numbers of birds & wildlife, some might be far out in the distance for photography. Long lenses are good to bring here, but if you are patient & observant you can find a lot of photo opportunities. Blackwater has a Wildlife Drive plus walking trails. It is known for its large population of Bald Eagles and also has some Golden Eagles. It has one of the largest populations of Bald Eagles on the East Coast, which nearly doubles in the Winter months. In the Summer months Ospreys return and quite often you see them interacting with the Bald Eagles. Also look for a variety of Harriers, Herons, Egrets, Swans, Ducks, Pelicans, Snow Geese, etc. Here are a few Eagles, Osprey and a Harrier.

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