24 days and counting until the Biggest Week in American Birding kicks off in Northwest Ohio. I took a chance last weekend and traveled to Magee Marsh along the coast of Lake Erie to see if any of the migratory birds had arrived. I wasn’t alone on the Boardwalk but the birds were few and far between. On my way back to the Boardwalk I observed many different species of ducks and other waterfowl. I also noticed as I hit the parking area one of the local Eagles were out of their nest and up into the trees near the first opening on the boardwalk. I parked and walked from one end to the other in search of any photographs. It wasn’t until I arrived at the location of the Eagle when I struck gold. The Eagle was still on his perch near the water towards the first opening. There was only one other photographer in the area and we watched for quite a while as the Eagle was looking for something to eat or to bring back to the nest. I was able to capture many images of this magnificent bird as he was ever watchful from his perch.
There are usually two or more pairs of Eagles along this area of the coastal waters of Lake Erie. The nesting areas are well protected by the park and access is limited. Thankfully my long lens combination helped me get up close and personal with this bird and I brought home quite a few keepers. Enjoy!
We are 30 days away from the Biggest Week in American Birding. As the Warblers and other birds migrate towards Canada, they stop off for a respite along the coast of Lake Erie before the long flight across the Lake. This activity can be observed all across the lakefront. One of My favorite locations is Magee Marsh located in Ottawa County here in Ohio. A short drive from my home here in Sylvania and I am surrounded by many different species of birds and water fowl. Egrets and Great Blue Herons are quite plentiful. I am looking forward to the migration this year and have been practicing my technique with my camera gear to ensure positive results in the field. This year, I plan experimenting with fill flash as well as the Pro Capture feature on my Olympus OM-D EM-1x camera.
Since the migration occurs over a specific time frame, you really need to prepare for the experience. You need to clean up your gear making sure you have enough batteries to be in the field and shoot many frames over several hours. Checking the weather each day is essential so that you can be prepared with the proper clothing for the type of weather you will be experiencing. Keep in mid it might be warm where you are, but on the lake the winds can drop the temperatures so bring a jacket or a sweater just in case. You might want to bring some food and plenty of water along for the day depending on how long you want to stay. The “Biggest Week” is great fun and you can sign up for many different lectures and such on their website. Look for the Biggest Week website right here. Get ready for some great bird photography and I will see you, and many more, in the field for the Biggest Week in American Birding. Enjoy!
Often times many images that I capture in color look even better or enhanced finished in Black and White. A throw back to the days of Tri X film and processing the roll in my basement. Certainly times have changed and there are many ways to take a color image and move it over to be seen in Black and White. Digital imaging software even allows for you to render the look that we used to get from Ilford black and white film or even Kodak’s Tri x which used to be a standard for images back many decades. With that in mind I scanned through some of my posts and found several images that I could enhance using a black and white conversion process on my computer. I placed these in a new gallery on my web site. You can see them right here or go to www.newdawnphotography.com and search the Galleries Tab for the Black and White Gallery I just added. Enjoy!
I recently updated my Eagles Gallery on my website and made it one of the featured galleries for the month of March. The images in this gallery were taken on a trip to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Many of these flight photos were taken from a moving boat. The challenge was hand holding a large camera since a tripod was useless while the boat rocked on the water. Thankfully, our guides got us close enough to the Eagles that I could use a standard telephoto lens and not my big 600mm. Making my gear a little more lighter really allowed me to use good hand holding technique and capture these birds in flight using a fast shutter speed. Shutter speeds basically have two functions. Slowing the speed can be used to illustrate action as the subject would be blurred. Great for shooting waterfalls in getting that smooth look on the falls. The other function is illustrated with these flight photos and that is to freeze the action with a fast shutter speed. This function is also useful if you have children in sports. Whether it be soccer, football, basketball, or even volleyball, speeding up your camera’s shutter speed is necessary to capture all the action on the field or on the court. Use the warm up time for your team to practice your hand holding technique so when the action starts you can be ready. A great lesson on good technique in order to reduce blurred photos is on line at the Photography Life website and you can find it right here.
As the weather starts to get warmer, now would be a good time to get your gear in shape. Make sure your firmware is up to date. Clean your lenses and don’t forget to vacuum out your gear bag as they have a tendency to gather a lot of dust which always seems to gravitate to your digital sensors. Practice a few of these hand holding techniques and be ready. I will see you in the field. Enjoy!
Here is another image from our recent trip to the Lake House. Our trees were populated with many cardinals and blue jays. I was able to conceal myself behind one of our large trees and watch the activity in the woods next to our property. The Male Cardinals were quite active and provided me with many opportunities to photograph their behaviors. Often times the Blue Jays would arrive and scatter the cardinals. Within minutes they would return to our feeders. If I moved even a slight bit, the Blue Jays would scatter and frighten off the rest of the birds. I needed to be patient and over time the birds would return to within my range of focus. The weather was a bit chilly, but with the proper clothing and hand warmers I was able to maintain my position and capture some great photos of these colorful birds.
Took a little time off this weekend to check in at the lake house. In spite of the cold weather we did have a little bit of a warming spell and I had an opportunity to observe some bird activity on the property adjacent to ours. I watched as this Northern Woodpecker was feasting away on a large tree stump high above the brush line. The challenge for me was trying to get into position where the brush and tree branches were not blocking my field of view. It took a lot of patience and finding the right spot as the bird climbed more towards the top of the tree. I wasn’t after a quick snap but to capture the bird doing something interesting as he chopped away looking for his meal. After several clicks I could see him turn towards me and give me a nice profile shot. When I looked at the image on my computer, I could see the white spot in his eye. A great eye catch from the sun. When photographing wildlife, the eyes have it. They must be sharp and a glint from the sun is usually the icing on the cake. For more of my bird photographs, click on the galleries menu and go to my Avian Gallery. As always, comments are welcomed. Enjoy!
It is still cold and rainy here in Northwest Ohio. We have been experiencing temperatures in the 50s but another cold snap is on the way. I have a few choices of things to do today. Shooting in the rain is not one of them. I do have rain gear and have photographed in the rain when I needed to, but today is an office day. Tuning up the printer and updating another gallery in my website. Today is Avian Gallery update day. I have added a few images from my recent trip to south Florida as well as past excursions to Alaska and some of my images from right here in Northwest Ohio. One might think that northern Ohio is not much of a mecca for bird photography but they would be wrong. All you have to do is Google the “Biggest Week in Birding” on the web and you will see that the bird migration in the spring attracts thousands of birders and photographers to the shores of lake Erie. It is only a 45 minute drive for me and the photo opportunities during the last weeks of April and into May provide the best birding photographs in the area. People come from all over the world to watch, photograph, and share the experience of the “Biggest Week.” The image that I have posted today is one of my favorites from recent years out by the lake. It is a rare sighting of a Cedar Waxwing. The only one I saw all season, but one that stayed long enough for a few clicks of my shutter. Enjoy!
I continue to work on the new layout for my web site at New Dawn Photography. I appreciate all the comments and help that I have received along the way. Especially from my friend Rod Barbee. Take a look at Rod’s web site at www.rodbarbee.com and check out Rod’s photography or maybe even sign up for one of Rod’s workshops. Rod is a great photographer as well as workshop leader and instructor. I most recently updated my waterfall gallery on my site and I encourage you to check out the images in this gallery. The image I included in this post is of Stanley Falls. Stanley Falls can be found along the Ice Fields Parkway on the way to Jasper, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. Its an easy hike of the main road. Parking is close by and the walk is not that difficult. If your up that way traveling from Banff to Jasper, make a stop and photograph this great Waterfall in the Canadian Rockies. You can see this image and more in my Waterfall Gallery which you can find right here. Enjoy!
We decided on an early departure from Florida as it was cold and raining for the remainder of our stay. I woke up Saturday to go to the Corkscrew Wildlife Refuge in South Florida only to find it a breezy 45 degrees and a major rain storm. Staying in a hotel for 5 days and watch the rain was an option, but we decided a return trip home was in order. Here in Northwest Ohio it is now -9 degrees with a wind chill of – 35. So today is an office day and I am making some progress in updating my web site. I was able to capture of few images of Birds while on my shortened trip. This one is of a Snowy Egret. Although I did not catch him fishing along the creek bed, I was surprised when I looked at this image on my computer to see the fish in the Egrets mouth. Sometimes its better to be lucky than good. Enjoy!
This is another image from my recent trip to Shark Valley here in South Florida. It was only one of a few birds that were active near the Visitor’s Center. However, it stayed quite a while on the trunk of this tree. I was hoping for a fishing expedition, but the heron found an area behind the shrubs to fish and was well out of my viewfinder. There were other birds there for me to see similar to my last post of a green heron. I will continue to search for more photo opportunities while here in Florida since beach time is limited do to colder weather than expected. I listed this as a Tricolored Heron. I believe that is the case but if one of my Birding friends would tell me otherwise, I would appreciate your comments. Enjoy!