Foraging Sandhill Crane

Usually you see the Sandhill Cranes foraging in the grasses for meals, but here they are foraging in the waters at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. It was fun to see them in a different setting!Sandhill_Crane_Forading_v2_LW_560mm_100-400_1-4x_Y9F8431Sandhill_Crane_foraging_v2_LW_1_400mm_1_4X__Y9F8433Sandhill_Crane_v3_lw_1-4mm_1_4X__Y9F8318

More Sandhill Crane Mult-Image Panoramas

On our visit to Lake Woodruff NWR in DeLand Florida, it was amazing how the Sandhill Cranes seemed to not be bothered by people. But then again there were not many people around. So maybe they were just curious. We did not try to get close to them, but they walked right up to us as to check us out. We were a little nervous at first but they just seemed to be checking us out and went on their way foraging in the grass. It is a little intimidating to have such a large bird get that close to check you out. They are about 4 ft tall and have about a 7 ft wingspan. The trouble was I had to shoot series of panoramas to get the entire Sandhill Cranes in. Usually you can never get close enough to fill the frame with birds! The featured image is made from 2 images, @ 300mm and assembled in Photoshop. The amount of images per pano is also a guide as to how close they were to us! The more images per panorama the closer they were!

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Sandhill Crane 2 Vertical Image Pano, 300mm Close Focusing lens

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Screen Grab of Initial Setup letting Photoshop align and blend 5 handheld images before Photoshop filled in the blank areas with content aware fill feature.

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Final Image With content Aware Fill added and other adjustments for density, etc. added.

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Sandhill Crane 8 image Panorama, 300mm lens

What Big Eyes You Have

 

It seemed the first pair of Sandhill Cranes were quite curious about us. They walked right up to us and sort of stared at us as if they were checking us out. We were a little nervous at first as they were that close and they were very large birds. But after that they sort of kept up with us as we were walking in that area and we welcomed their company as we walked. Then they went off on their own in a different direction.Sandhill_Crane_Portrait_v2_7D_300mm_MG_8234-RecoveredSandhill_Crane_Headshot_v1_300mm_7D_076A2494

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Sandhill Crane 5 Image Panorama

Another panorama from Lake Woodruff NWR. This time is a 5 horizontal image panorama, stacked for a vertical image.  I was using a 300mm Canon f/4 lens. It was strange on this trip that they seemed to not be wary of people. They would walk right near you as they were feeding in the grasses or walking by. It was definitely a fun trip!

Sandhill Crane Fly-By Sequence

A series of images of a Sandhill Crane Slow FlyBy. Interesting to see the wing positions as it slowly flew by me. I was using a Tamron 150-600mm lens. Images captured @ 428mm.

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Sandhill Crane Panoramas From Lake Woodruff NWR

On our trip to Lake Woodruff NWR in DeLand Florida we were hoping to see Sandhill Cranes. They did not disappoint us. The only problem was it was a spur of the moment trip so I traveled light and only chose the lenses I thought would be best. I did not want to load up the car with too many lenses to carry once we got there. So for long lenses I brought a 300mm with a close focusing capability and a Tamron 150-600mm zoom for versatility along with teleconverters. Usually the Sandhill Cranes are in large flocks or off in the distance. The first walk in to the trails, 2 Sandhills landed right by us within a couple of feet. They stuck with us for quite a while giving me the opportunity to get a lot of portraits. But to get the whole Sandhill Crane in, I resorted to shooting panoramas of them. All panos were shot handheld and assembled in Photoshop. The featured image is only 2 vertical images blended because the Crane was a little further away from me at this point.

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Sandhill Crane, 2 Vertical Image Panorama, 300mm lens

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7 horizontal images, handheld panorama, 300mm lens

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Sandhill Crane,  2 Vertical Image Panorama, 300mm lens

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Sandhill Crane Panorama, 7 Horizontal Images, 300mm

Sandhill Cranes Flying In

When we first got to Lake Woodruff NWR we started down one of the paths to one of our favorite spots to photograph. These 2 Sandhill Cranes landed right in front of us. Then to our surprise they started to mate right in front of us. They were so close I had to backup to get them in the frame. I was using a 300mm lens so I had to back up multiple times to get them in the frame. Then I just decided to shoot multi-image panoramas to get the whole crane in because they stayed so close to us as we walked the path. They stayed with us for about 20 minutes. It was strange that they walked right up to us within a couple of feet and sort of stared at us.  But I was able to get full frame head portraits! Luckily my 300mm lens had very close focusing capability!
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Sandhill Crane Portraits

On our visit to Lake Wooodruff NWR in Deland, Florida we were lucky to find a few Sandhill Cranes. Years ago when we were there, we saw large flocks of Sandhill Cranes. But on this quick stop we only saw a scattered few.  All these photos are taken with a 400mm f/4 DO lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter as we were walking along the trails there. Lake Woodruff NWR does not seem to gather the large crowds of people as a well known Ding Darling NWR attracts. It has a small parking area and usually you only see a few people as you walk the trails and explore. In a way it is a little strange in that you feel quite alone there in this vast NWR. But it is a huge NWR in area and seems more relaxing to explore there. We visited on our way home so we got there in the afternoon when the birds are less active. Next post will have Sandhill Cranes with a Colt (Chick) foraging with the parents.

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Sandhill Crane greeting us on the entrance path on our way in.  2 horizontal images to make a Vertical Panorama, handheld. They are a LARGE Bird so even trying to shoot a vertical image Crane did not fit in image area.

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Sandhill Cranes deeper in the Refuge

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Sandhill Crane Composite – 3 images. Reminded me of a wanted poster

 

 

Sandhill Crane Flyby from Lake Woodruff NWR

Here are a few more images from our photo trip to Florida. We picked a few of our favorite locations to visit plus some we passed along the way. Years ago we liked Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in DeLeon Springs, Florida. It had suffered quite a bit of damage from hurricanes years ago. We have not been back for many years since then. So on our way home we stopped at Lake Woodruff NWR to see how it was and see what we could find to photograph. It is a huge refuge at 22,000 acres. The refuge contains a myriad of habitats, among them are marshes, swamps, creeks, hammocks and uplands.

Some of our favorite subjects here are the Sandhill Cranes & Swallow-tailed kites. You usually do not see them often at other refuges in Florida. On a previous trip years ago we saw a Whooping Crane in with the large flock of Sandhill Cranes. It was fun to see and photograph them, especially flying by.

On this trip we only saw 1 pair of Sandhill Cranes with a colt walking along the dykes and another one that did a close flyby.  I will start with the flyby images of the Sandhill Crane.

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