Blackwater NWR Snow Geese In-Flight Panoramas

On our visit to Blackwater NWR we saw quite a few large groups of Tundra Swans & Canada Geese, but I was looking for large groups of Snow Geese. There was one large group way out in the Blackwater River, but none close to photograph. Also saw one large group in the distance behind the Visitor Center but could not get a clear image of them from the Wildlife Drive. After driving one loop of the Wildlife Drive we stopped by the Visitor Center to photograph a large group of Canada Geese in the fields by the Center. Then off to the left of the Visitor Center I noticed a large group of Snow Geese flying in. It was still early so I liked the color of the sky behind them. When photographing multi-image panoramas of flying birds I tend to photograph them from the far end of the direction they are flying and shoot my series as quickly as I can. So if the group is flying to the right, I start my series on the far left and shoot quickly going along with them to the right to capture the whole group. If you go the opposite way you get more uneven spacing and more spacing between the birds in the group. Which is harder to touch up for the final image. The featured image is 5 images shot with a Tamron 150-600mm @600mm on a Canon R. These are about 80 – 122 inches for the original file, so making them so small in length for the post I loose some detail in the image.

Snow Geese Panorama, 19 Image Panorama, Tamron 150-600mm @ 600mm, Canon R
Snow Geese Panorama, 15 Image Panorama, Tamron 150-600mm @ 309mm, Canon R (final image 122 inches)
Snow Geese Panorama, 8 Image Panorama, Tamron 150-600mm @ 600mm, Canon R

Snow Geese Fly By

This large group of Snow Geese was flying in a long & low to the water flock of birds. The white Snow Geese overlapping the bright sun lit water really blended in with the bright water, but I thought it was still an interesting image. Image from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge a few years ago. Shot with a Canon 400mm DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter.

 

 

Snow Geese Flight At Noon

As we were wandering around the Blackwater NWR looking for photo subjects I saw these Snow Geese taking off, but stayed low close to the water. The sun was really bright on the water so the white Snow Geese sort of disappeared against the bright reflections in the water, but I still liked the Snow Geese that stood out against the darker tree line.

Snow Geese Panoramas From Blackwater NWR

On our weekend at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, I like photographing the great landscapes and also the birds and wildlife, plus detail images I find interesting. On the first day the weather cooperated and I got a lot of images to go through. As I was photographing the large groups of Snow Geese, Tundra Swans and Canada Geese in the water, I wondered if multi-image panoramas shot with long lenses would work on the large groups of flying flocks of birds. You could just use a wide angle lens, but that would not be a very large file. And for a long flying group you would have a lot of blank blue sky on the top and bottom.

So as large groups flew by, I would shoot a series of the flying birds, panning as quickly as I could, to try to capture the whole group. I could not use a tripod and just shoot the same spot in the sky as they passed because the sky & clouds would be in the same place with different birds. I was using a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. So at 10 FPS I got quite a few frames of each group as they flew by. Then I chose the best frames for overlap and manually lined them up for position. Then retouched some overlap wing positions or birds that overlapped.

The featured image is made from 4 images of the series I shot on the first day. The first day was a beautiful day with nice blue skies. I manually lined up the images, blending them in Photoshop and touching up a few overlaps.

snow_geese_bwr_12_18_5img_pano_43_728mm_v2

The 2nd Image is 5 images shot on the 2nd day which was more overcast and kind of a gray day. Again manually lining up the images in Photoshop and blending them together. I had tried to automatically let Photoshop CC2019 align the layers but it could not because of all that was going on with the birds. These final images are between about 80 inches and 110 inches long. I probably would not print them but I know it sort of works.

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