Posted on March 19, 2016
This Mute Swan was swimming along the shoreline with the dried grasses in the background. I thought the warm colors looked interesting so I shot a 2 shot panorama and blended the 2 images in Photoshop. Because the swan was moving I used a soft edge mask to blend the 2 images, because the swan was actually in 2 different areas along the shoreline in each shot. By blending the images I hid the differences in position.
Posted on February 29, 2016
This ring-billed Gull kept flapping a few feet out of the water then diving into the water fishing for food. After watching it for a while I realized it had gotten a large carp and was eating it. It was a ways out on the lake and I only brought my 300mm f/4 because of its close focusing ability for ice bubbles. I used a 2x teleconverter for some, a 1.4x teleconverter for others and to get even closer I stacked the 2x teleconverter with the 1.4x teleconverter and stopped down to f/16 for a few. It was fun to watch.
Posted on March 29, 2015
Finally it is starting to get warmer here in the Northeast, and the local Wildlife Refuge is coming back to life. With the extremely cold weather in the Northeast, the lake had a very thick layer of ice over the Winter. This is the first year that I saw hundreds of dead sunfish and really large dead carp frozen in the water along the shorelines. The refuge years ago was a Celery Farm and after that they raised carp here. So to see hundreds of dead fish was stunning to see. As the ice started melting they attracted large flocks of Turkey Vultures and Gulls scavenging the fish out of the ice. There are a variety of ducks coming back and on this post I am showing some of the Common Mergansers. One of my favorite ducks just because they are pretty cool looking. They are diving ducks, so they are fun to watch feeding. These photos are 2 shot panoramas combined in Photoshop. I used a Canon EOS 1D MkIV with a Canon 400mm f/4 w/ a Canon 1.4X Series III teleconverter giving me a focal length w/crop factor, 35mm equivalent of 728mm.
Posted on October 6, 2014
I thought Ospreys had left our area because of the colder weather, but I was surprised to see this female Osprey fly in. It circled for quite a few passes, looking for a meal, but eventually moved on. They are always fun to watch fly and glide by.
Posted on October 5, 2014
I was leaving the Celery Farm Natural Area when I saw this Great Blue Heron on a fallen tree in the water. He had interesting backlight from the sun rising behind him, highlighting his head and beak, so I tried a few shots.
Posted on September 28, 2014
I found this Great Egret preening in the early morning light this morning at The Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, NJ. I like how the light was shining through the feathers giving dimension and textures from the side/backlighting. The Egret stayed for quite a while on this pile of sticks giving many photo opportunities. When time permits, if the subject is staying for a while, I try different compositions using horizontal or vertical panoramas, and/or focus blending. In time this Great Blue Heron came closer, but was too far behind to get both in focus. I shot 4 shots to create a focus stacked panorama of the two birds. I manually combined them with masks to keep the out of focus background with the bird images in focus.
Posted on August 1, 2014
Last Sunday I went to the Celery Farm Natural Area even though it was raining lightly and overcast. Did not expect to see much, but thought I could find something for the blog. There were a few Canada Geese and a few Great Blue Herons. The light was terrible and raining slightly. I did see this Great Blue Heron, in a rather dark area under trees, through the tree branches. I tried shooting through an opening the leaves, framing the Great Blue in an opening in the closer foliage, using the closer out of focus leaves as a soft colorful border for the image.
Posted on July 26, 2014
I finally saw a Kingfisher at one of the local nature areas. Usually they are here before this, but there was limited sightings so far. This one was on a branch across from me. The Kingfisher stayed for about 10 minutes then flew off to the channel, chattering as he went.
Posted on July 20, 2014
It was a slow day at the Celery Farm Natural Area with little light and little activity going on except for a few Canada Geese. While waiting for something to happen, this group of Wood Ducks swam by in front of us. It was too long a group for one shot, so I quickly shot 2 photos to capture the whole group. This group was larger than the group last week with 22 Wood Ducks. I don’t think this was all from one family. I blended the two shots in Photoshop with an opaque feathered mask and lined up the groups. There was a smaller group also, which seemed to come upon another snapping turtle, scooting off quickly and getting away.
Posted on July 15, 2014
I was at the Celery Farm Natural Area on Sunday, but there was not a lot going on. I did see this Dragonfly with its reflection in the distance. It was a gray day, so I just opened up the shadows and added some vibrance to bring the water up from a dull gray. I liked the reflection of the reddish-orange large dragonfly in the water.