Great Blue Heron In The Grasses

As we were driving along the Brigantine Wildlife Drive looking for photo subjects we came upon this Great Blue Heron standing in the Grasses. It was quite far out so I put a 2X Teleconverter on my 150-600mm lens to get a closer image. It came out fairly well considering the Tamron 150-600mm lens @ 600mm with a 2X teleconverter (1200mm) is somewhat pushing the sharpness of the lens & image. Stopping down more to f/16 helped quite a bit plus using more Sharpening in Camera Raw when adjusting my images also helped. Usually when using a Teleconverter, I stop down more than I usually do when not using a Teleconverter. For example – when using a 1.4X teleconverter I stop down 1 more f/stop than usual. When using a 1.7X or 2X Teleconverter I stop down 2 stops more than usual. I flattened my layers & duplicated the final layer to have a duplicate layer above my final layer. Using Filter > Other>High Pass Sharpening I had a Grayscale duplicate image above my final color layer. The Grayscale layer was then changed from Normal to Overlay in the layers palette and I lowered the opacity of the High Pass layer to about 40 percent opacity. This just adds a little more Crispness or Sharpness (on the image edges) since I was using a 2X Teleconverter on the Tamron 150-600mm Lens. When using a Grayscale High Pass layer technique it is best to not go too “heavy” on the opacity of High Pass layer. Usually I only go to 20% or 30% opacity on the High Pass layer, but really depends on the image you are working on. This technique can also help sharpness when printing images on an Ink Jet Printer which is basically spraying the ink. But for Inkjet printing I would lower the High Pass layer even a little more. It takes some practice but helps. In my old commercial photo studio before I retired we also did a lot of Wide Format printing for our Corporate & Advertising Agency clients. I had 2- 60″ wide HP Printers for indoor display & fine art graphics & 44″ & 63″ Epson Printers for outdoor graphics or indoor specialty medias. Give this technique a try, but do not overdo the opacity of the High Pass layer. Again it takes some practice, but comes in handy.

Brigantine Feeding Gulls Panorama

Quite often you will find large groups of Gulls, with a few other birds in the mix, feeding in the water channels along the Wildlife Drive. The Featured Image is a handheld 7 image panorama of a group of mainly Gulls with a couple of Snowy Egrets in the mix. Because they are actually moving along as they are feeding I shot my 7 images as fast as I could to help with the blending & to minimize their movements on the overlapping edges of the 7 images. I also upped my ISO to 1250 to get an even faster shutter speed (1/2000 sec) to minimize the fast movement of the camera’s swinging arc & also because of the moving Gulls. It also helps to shoot in the same direction the group is moving. I was using a Tamron 150-600mm @ 600mm @f/11 on a Canon R.

Cropped In Section of the Panorama to show detail

Ospreys At Brigantine

On our visit to the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge I was hoping to get many images of the Ospreys in flight. And also Ospreys on nests on the Osprey Platforms along the Wildlife Drive. On this visit there was only one active Osprey Platform near the Wildlife Drive. The featured image is an Osprey near the nest on a post. I was using a Canon R with a Tamron 150-600mm lens at 600mm with a Sigma 2x teleconverter for 1200mm to get closer to my subject.

Osprey Nest On Osprey Platform, Along Wildlife Drive, Tamron 150-600m @ 600mm, Canon R

Great Egret At Brigantine

We finally got to go to one of our favorite National Wildlife Refuges, the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in Oceanville NJ. On this day the wildlife was few and far between but it was still fun to get out and photograph. The cloudscapes & landscapes were Great and the Green Headed Flies were not biting as much as other visits! So it was a Great Day to be out and photograph! For this post I am using images of a Great Egret that seemed like it was posing for me instead of flying off. We did see quite a few other Great Egrets but most were far off in the distance.

Great Egret, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm, Canon R, @f/11
Great Egret, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm, Canon R, @f/11

Tree Swallows From Davidsons Mill Pond Park

The Eastern Bluebirds and the Tree Swallows were really going at it to secure the nesting boxes that are scattered about the park. Quite a few are along one stretch of the main open area. A lot of activity, but they were all over the place so with the camera & lens I was using I did not get any of the action shots. I was using the Canon R with the 150-600mm Tamron lens with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter for a focal length of 1200mm. Here are a series of images of the Tree Swallows around some of the nesting boxes.

Tree Swallow, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm focal length
Tree Swallow, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm focal length
Tree Swallows, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm
Tree Swallow, Tamron 150-600mm @600mm with a Sigma 2X Teleconverter, Canon R, for 1200mm

Eastern Bluebirds Return To Davidsons Mill Pond Park

Eastern Bluebirds have started returning to Davidsons Mill Pond Park. I wanted to go photograph them but decided to use a very long lens so as not to bother them as they are finding their homes in the BlueBird Boxes scattered around the park. There is a lot of activity around the nesting boxes because the Tree Swallows are also trying to take over the Bluebird boxes. So a lot of back & forth between them. I decided to use a 150-600mm Tamron lens @ 600mm with a 2X teleconverter with a Canon R giving me a focal length of 1200mm. The Canon R can still autofocus with that combination of the 150-600mm Tamron lens & the Sigma 2X Teleconverter which helps with my old eyes! It was a fun photo outing and hope that soon the Dragonflies are next to return! I also smoothed out out the backgrounds somewhat because of the flowering trees & branches in the background to give a smoother clean background with the Bluebirds.

Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R
Eastern Bluebird, Tamron 150-600mm Lens@ 600mm, w/Sigma 2X Teleconverter, for a total of 1200mm on a Canon R

Northern Cardinal Outside Our Front Door

For a while now we have been enjoying the visiting birds on the top of our neighbors tree across from our front door. Today it was a very colorful male Northern Cardinal. So I shot a series of images using a Tamron 150-600mm lens with a Sigma 2X teleconverter on a Canon R. This gave me a final focal length of 1200mm so I upped my ISO since I was handholding the camera. The Canon R autofocused fine with this combination. Images were taken @ 1/500 sec, f/11, 1000 ISO. As I was photographing him, he kept an eye on me in the first few minutes. After a while he just kept looking to the left & right.

More Bald Eagles From Blackwater NWR

During our visit to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland we did see quite a few Bald Eagles flying in the distance. But many not close enough to photograph. We did finally find a few to get somewhat closer images. These images are also cropped in quite a lot to have the Bald Eagles large enough to see in the image. The Featured Bald Eagle was in a tree by the Entrance to the Wildlife Drive.

Bald Eagle on branch, image @ 600m, Canon R

Blackwater NWR Mergansers

On our visit to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, I was looking for some different photo subjects than the usual ones we see. I did find some Mergansers in different areas along the Wildlife Drive. The Featured Image is a Hooded Merganser. It was swimming in a small water channel under a bunch of trees so I hardly could make it out in the shadows. It was just one black blob moving in the water so I adjusted my exposure in the camera to +1 stop hoping that would be enough to get some detail. Then when working on the image in Adobe Camera Raw, adjust the shadows in the Raw file to bring out more detail in the shadows and reduce the noise in the image. So it seemed to work out ok. This was taken with a Canon R with a 150-600mm lens @ 600mm. Then near the end of the Wildlife Drive I found a pair (male & female) of Common Mergansers swimming in the channel.

Female & Male Common Mergansers, Canon R, Tamron 150-600mm, @600mm, heavy crop to image

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

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