Birds Settling Down At Sunset @ Ding Darling NWR

A couple of colorful sunset images of birds settling down for the evening. I am going through my array of Back-Up Drives making room for newer images and discarding ones I do not need. But along the way I am finding interesting images to post here. Also I am just selecting the best images when I was shooting a series of the bird flying in, etc. then deleting the extra files. The images here were taken many years ago. We were on our way out on the Ding Darling NWR Wildlife Drive as we passed these groups. The Featured Image of the Great Egret landing was taken with a 400mm DO Lens on a Canon 7D @ 6:48. The Group of Wood Storks was taken from the same spot but more to the right 3 minutes later @ 6:51 because I was waiting for a better grouping as they were moving. The distance to both groups were 236 feet according to the Adobe Camera Raw data. Then we had to get going to leave because they were closing and wanted everyone out.

Wood Storks Settling Down In The Water Along Wildlife Drive, 400mm DO lens, Canon 7D

Red-Winged Blackbirds With Setting Sun

This image is a little different from a previous post as it is Red-winged Blackbirds flying out in the early evening against a setting sun. Image shot at 800mm.

Osprey In Tree Sunset

As the sun was setting and the sky was glowing orange I noticed this Osprey in a tree along the Wildlife Drive at J. N. Ding Darling NWR on our way out of the Refuge. I liked the stark dark Osprey & tree silo against the colorful sky. Image taken with 400mm DO lens.

i Phone Panoramas

I use 2 different methods when using my iPhone for panoramas (or for images just requiring a slightly wider view like the featured image). The examples here are with my older iPhone 6 when I was in Florida in the Spring. The iPhone 6 had a 4.2mm lens which is equivalent to a Full Frame camera lens Field of View of 29mm. Many times you get a “curve” on the horizon and a distinct “Curve” and distortion on the ends when using the panorama feature on the iPhone 6. It really stands out if you are on a road that is straight left & right of your position and you are basically shooting a pano looking down the road to the left moving the phone down the road on the right. You get a distinct “bowing” look to the image as in the last photo in this post. Sometimes you can say it is an interesting effect, but not really ideal for the image. How close the objects are in the center has another set of problems because the far left & right are farther away and with a wide lens on the iPhone distortion looks more prominent.  Because of this sometimes I take 2 (or more) individual images with my iPhone and use Photoshop to blend them for a panorama (or just a slightly wider view than the standard 1 image). I do this instead of the Pano mode in the iPhone which tends to distort the horizon line. The featured image is just a little wider so the tree on the right is more in the image. With the new iPhone 11 Pro, I have 3 lenses so I can shoot much wider than the older iPhone with the 1.5mm lens (Full Frame Camera Equivalent is ~13mm). In the examples below I also used the “Warp” feature in Photoshop (Edit>Transform>Warp) to straighten out the horizon somewhat which also can get a slight curve to the horizon in the image. I also have my system setup to open jpegs from the iPhone in Adobe Camera Raw to have even more options in adjusting my files before I even open them in Photoshop. Doing it this way, I can adjust the settings of the jpeg file, sort of treating it like a faux “Raw” file. It seems to really work well with my new iPhone 11 Pro. But these examples are from the older iPhone 6.

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2 Horizontal Images, stacked vertically for more clouds


iPhone 6 – 2 image pano Stack for a little more clouds


iPhone 6 – 2 image sunrise Pano for more width (Horizon Line Corrected somewhat in Photoshop)


iPhone 6 – 2 image sunrise panorama, with more overlapping of images, assembled in Photoshop. This give a little more on the left & right sides. Sometimes you lessen the “curve” arc of the pano mode by shooting 2 single images and blending them then using the “Pano” feature.

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Panorama made with iPhone 6 showing “warping curve” distortion of railing on deck platform by just using the Pano feature on the phone. (Horizon line here was Corrected Somewhat in Photoshop)


iPhone 6 Panorama shot @ Blackwater NWR Wildlife Drive – Showing distortion of road (on left and right) by just using the pano feature while standing on the road.

Blackwater NWR Panoramas

Here are a few panoramas from the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland. The featured Sunrise image is a panorama image made with 5 horizontal overlapping images, each shot at 24mm and assembled in Photoshop. This is an image of the Little Blackwater River along the entrance to the Wildlife Drive. The final size for the featured sunrise image is 95 inches long x 18 inches high @ 300ppi. Sunrises & Sunsets are usually very colorful at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge which is one of my favorite photo destinations.


Blackwater NWR Sunrise across from the lookout platform along the Wildlife Drive. ( 2 image Pano)

Image below is a multi-image vertical panorama. Sometimes it is fun to try different format orientations instead of ones you usually see. Most panoramas are Horizontal.


2 vertical images blended for vertical Sunrise panorama shoot @ 24mm


Single 12mm Sunrise Image

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Dusk Panorama Further Down The Wildlife Drive. 10 vertical images @ 24mm combined for panorama 

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Dusk Panorama Along Wildlife Drive. 6 vertical images @ 12mm for panorama.


Sunset At Brigantine

A colorful sunset at the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, NJ. Image taken with a 24-105mm zoom @ 24mm along the Wildlife Drive.


Closer view of sunset color in water & ice @ 105mm

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Closer Sunset Colors On Ice @ 400mm

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Colorful Ice & Water At Sunset – 400mm

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Bald Eagle on Snag with Red-winged Blackbirds in Background.

Setting Sun Captiva Island, Florida

As I was walking back from the beach to our rental, I liked the colors in the sky and the backlit trees along the path. I had a 24-105mm zoom with me, but wanted a little wider view, so I did a two shot. I also positioned the starburst, from the setting sun to be somewhat centered for the final 2 shot pano. The trees on the left overlapped for quite a few trees, so I ended that side with the main single set. I liked the colors in the sky and waited till the sun was just starting to go below the distant tree line so it looked more dramatic, but was still above the horizon above the water to get the starburst.  I was using a Canon body with a cropped sensor so I did a 2 shot handheld overlapping panorama and assembled it in Photoshop. 24mm @ f/11.

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Another view further down the path, single image. 

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View from the entrance of the path


Pelican Flying Through Sunset – Captiva Island

I have not posted any blogs for a while. We were busy with downsizing studio space at work, moving the computer room, moving printers, network cables, etc. Mostly getting everything up and runnings again. Also I did not do much personal photography for a while. In November we had the opportunity to go to Sanibel & Captiva Islands in Florida. It was fun to shoot for fun again. One of my favorite places to photograph birds and sunsets. The featured image was shot with a 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/8 1/3200 sec.

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Pelicans Flying Through Sunset – 105mm with 24-105mm @ f/11

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Pelicans Flying Right After The Sun Set – 105mm with 24-105mm @ f/11

7 Image Panorama Sunset At Blackwater NWR

This is a 7 image capture of a sunset at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Handheld series with 7 overlapping images shot with a 400mm lens with a 1.4X teleconverter. I was photographing birds flying through the colorful sunset, going to roost or settle down for the evening, but the sunset was so colorful, I tried a quick series to capture a enough images for a panorama. Then a tried a couple of vertical panorama setups. Ending with just some detail sections.


Two image vertical panorama, 400mm with 1.4X Teleconverter



Two image vertical panorama, 400mm with 1.4X Teleconverter



Sunset @ 400mm


Dusk @ 400mm w/1.4X Teleconverter


Sunset @ 400mm w/1.4X Teleconverter


Two Lonely Trees landscape

I like the colorful skies at the Blackwater NWR in Cambridge Maryland at the end of the day. This is one from a few years ago. Just happened to find it while I was looking for something else. Many times you see flocks of birds flying through the colorful skies, but this one with just a couple trees in the center of the image with the colorful sky and water looked appealing and peaceful. Usually I do not like to center my main subject in more of the middle of the frame, but it did not look like it worked offset to either side. So I liked it that way. It is also a nice background for a page in one of my ebooks with text placed around the frame. Many times I shoot images for backgrounds with blank areas for text or for other images to be placed around to tell a story as a page in my ebooks. Quite often I shoot a series working my main image with different intentional open spaces. You never know when you might need them. I guess I started doing this in my commercial work over the many years giving clients other choices along with what they requested. It is amazing how many times it paid off. Also it helps you to see differently and try other ways of seeing what you are looking at. You might be surprised at what you come up with. I also throw in a series of horizontal or vertical handheld panoramas just to get practice for when I really need one.

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