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on Mar 12, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

The Vertical Flight Shot

Speaking of pelicans … there are the Brown Pelicans in Florida. Not sure what it is about the Brown Pelican, I just gravitate towards them whenever they are within range of my lens. They are so prehistoric lookin, have a helluva bite but I know first hand they have a big heart. And when it comes to flight, they are masters of the air riding currents we can’t even feel. So photographing them in flight always fascinates me and as you’ve seen, photographing them floating on the crest of a wave is one way I love to tell the story of their flight. Then there is the another …. When pelicans decide they are going to land, there is a moment as they change their flight that another aspect of their ability is displayed. The thing is, in order to land they need to dump air from their wings so they can land. In doing so, they twist and torque in all sorts of ways depending on how fast...

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on Mar 10, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Ding Darling Magic!

It has been many years since I’ve been to Ding Darling NWR. Spent so much time there back in the day, film days that is because it was the mecca for wildlife photographers and bird photography. The Refuge has changed a lot in the 30+yrs I’ve been venturing to it. I remember all to well back when it was a dirt road, dust everywhere and photographers around every bush. Then with a hurricane here, water change there, the birds started to be fewer and so the photographers. The once slam dunk for Roseatte Spoonbills and thousands of waders in the viewfinder slowly faded away, and with it the hoards of photographers. Early in 2000, when I planned to shoot at Ding Darling, I would only plan on a couple of hours in the mornings and then head elsewhere to shoot the rest of the day. Well, that was not the case yesterday! After the great weekend at the FCCC conference, we headed to Ding Darling yesterday for what I...

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on Mar 9, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

I Love A Good Surprise

Friday morning found us at Harns Marsh Preserve with forty really great folks. We were there with the FCCC field trip and for Sharon & I, it was our first visit to a very well know location for bird photography. Now, like any location, just because you saw the birds there yesterday, doesn’t mean they will be there today. It has been scouted, lots of birds seen prior to our arrival but being wildlife, well, they picked up and moved on. No matter, it was a gorgeous morning so with D4s / 800 w/TC-1.25e attached, we all started to walk the perimeter of the Marsh. One great subject appeared pretty quickly. This Anhinga was T’d up drying its wings. What was cool was the really nice background in really nice light for the Anhinga. Why was it nice light for the Anhinga? If you looked at the reptilian tail it has, you only see those distinct bars in the right light. That barred tail is what really makes the...

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on Mar 6, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

Homage to the GBH

Sharon & I are down in FL for the weekend for the FCCC Conference (come by and say hi!). And here like everywhere in North America (even had one on the ice in the Arctic), the Great Blue Heron waits for the wildlife photographer. I think there’s not a wildlife photographer, anywhere who hasn’t photographed with great earnest the GBH. They are big so you don’t need a lot of lens to get a great image size. They are pretty darn forgiving for all the silly things wildlife photographers do so build our patience. And they really aren’t too bad lookin. And these graceful birds, well, even with all their good intentions, they don’t always come out looking as majestic in some photos as they should. They definitely come under the banner of common, so we must strive to portray them in an uncommon way. There are many ways of doing this, in this instance, I was lying on the sand shooting with a slowish shutter speed to capture...

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on Feb 23, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

That Spot of Light

Definitely NOT one of the most attractive members of our wild heritage, the Black Vulture. That head, black, withered, craggy, nasty skin tends to be, I don’t know, a turn off? And the fact they eat dead and smelly stuff, just doesn’t endear them to anybody either. Photographically though, they are a bitch to shoot. That’s because they are all black. In the Costa Rican rainforest they are everywhere and a very important part of its ecology. In the spotty light of the rainforest, a black subject on a white branch is an exposure nightmare! In making the uncommon out of the common, the Black Vulture needs just a kiss of light to bring out the cool texture in their plumage. At the same time, that head no matter how ugly needs a little love too. Making this shot was actually, pretty easy once you made the walk and dealt with the humidity. Walking down the steep trail into the valley, you are able to shoot right across at...

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on Feb 17, 2015 in Wildlife Photography

To Experience It All

Gary with amazing skill followed the trail up from the surf, up the beach and over the top. There the trail ended in a small clump of grass. Feverishly he digs down below the grass clump. He’s found a nest that has hatch under the grass. He knows sites like this, some hatchlings get caught in the roots. After a few moments he emerges from his digging with two newly hatched sea turtles in his hands. One is dead, the other is still alive. To finish the cycle, the hatchling must travel to the surf from its nest on its own. Only by doing so will it mark on this locations and years from now, comeback to lay its own eggs. That’s only if it beats the odds and survives all the predators waiting for it on the sand and in the water. Following behind it down the beach with Df / 18-35AFS shooting away, the struggle of this endangered species had me thinking. As photographers, we often start...

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