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Friday, February 25, 2011

Photo Workshop with Lillian

White Pelicans with Willets flying by like confetti with a Marbled Godwit in the middle.
1/2700, f/11, ISO 640, -0.67

Reddish Egret, juv. dark morph, hunting fish
1/1600, f/10, ISO 640

Osprey against white clouds
1/3200 f /6.4, ISO 640 +1.33

3 Snowy Egrets flying together
1/2500, f/13, ISO 640 -1.33

Dunlins in flight, very far away
1/3200 f/10 ISO 640

Brown Pelican diving
1/2700 f/10 ISO 640

I had great fun today leading a Stokes photo/birding workshop, along with Don, at Ding Darling NWR as part of a fundraiser for the refuge. We took 2 trams of people (I led the photographers, Don led the birders) into the refuge which is closed on fridays.
I was concentrating on teaching people about shooting birds in action. Above are some of the shots I took. We did not use tripods and most people had about 400 mm lenses. My best advice was to "move your feet" and "move the camera dial" to get to the photo op and catch a good exposure for the situation. Knowing your camera and how to fix the settings quickly is essential. There are many ways to do photography and there is more than one right way to approach a situation.
I was using my Canon 1D Mark IV camera, set at AV (Aperture-Priority, although sometimes I shoot M), AI Servo AF mode, and H (high-speed continuous shooting). I had a 300 mm IS lens with a 1.4 teleconverter. The Mark IV allows one to shoot at higher ISO setting without the grain one might have if using the less expensive Canon digital SLR cameras. Hence I could shoot at 640 ISO, even though I did not have to.
For those of you in the workshop reading this blog post, keep up all the great work, hope I shared with you some tips and incentive to take more birds in action shots!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Birds in Action

Osprey, in fog, balancing on branch with just caught fish

Snowy Egret during a feeding frenzy

Brown Pelican diving at moment of impact

By far, my favorite type of photography is to catch birds in action. Here are a few of my favorite photos from Sanibel this year.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brown Pelican drama

Took this image of a Brown Pelican diving in fog with my Canon 1D Mark IV camera. I was taken by the drama of the wonderful lines of the pelican augmented by the white space of the fog.

ISO 1250, 1/640 sec., f/16, 420mm

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rufled Roseate Spoonbills

Went into Chico's (did you know this women's clothing store chain started on Sanibel?) a few days ago and noticed the new look for spring was pale pink ruffles. Someone must have told these Roseate Spoonbills in Ding Darling NWR because they were obviously ready for the runway.
So many photos so little time to post. We have been busy here and are giving a big talk and book-signing tonight to the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society, where many of my photos from our trip here will be shown.
More photos coming soon.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lovey-Dovey: Happy Valentine's Day!

Common Ground-Doves


I photographed these Common Ground-Doves in Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, FL. They, as well as the Mourning Doves and Eurasian Collared-Doves, are beginning to breed down here, hence the cosiness. These diminutive little birds, found in the far southern areas of the country, are about half the size of Mourning Doves and just oh, so, cute!

Enjoy your Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Don with Caloosa Bird Club

We went birding with the Caloosa Bird Club in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a great group of birders. It's fun to share our knowledge with others. Our new Stokes field guide comes in handy when discussing tricky ID of shorebirds and immature Night-Herons. It was foggy in the morning and the low light added drama to the photos of the Tri-colored Heron I took.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Peregrine Falcon grabs tern

Peregrine Falcon grabs Forster's Tern

From the corner of my eye I saw a flash of wings, on reflex alone, I raised the camera and shot, just in time to get on this image of an adult Peregrine Falcon, carrying its prize, a Forster's Tern. The hunter and the hunted, unless you are a small fish, then the hunter becomes the tern.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

BBC Wildlife Mag. Great Review, Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Lillian's Yellow Warbler photo, from the Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, is in BBC Wildlife Magazine, along with a review.

We have gotten an excellent review from the prestigious BBC Wildlife Magazine for our new The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. They published a beautiful photo of the Yellow Warbler, by Lillian, from our new guide. The review was by Mark Cocker, famous British bird author.
He says, "I need to declare a bias at the onset; I am not a fan of id guides that use photographs rather than paintings... But if a single photo guide could ever persuade me of the merits of the (photo) format, this would.. be it. This is a glorious book put together with loving attention to detail, covering all of the 864 bird species that regularly occur north of the US-Mexico border... the text is succinct and thorough and the maps are clear... the true selling point of this book is the images, which are almost uniformly pin-sharp. There are at least 4 per bird; for more comples species that have several plumage phases there are as many as a dozen... this is a superb, good-value field guide."

Mark also notes why this book is of keen interest to British birders. "A good many of them (i.e. North American species), such as the gulls, waders and wonderfully colourful American wood-warblers, are relevant to British-based birders because they can turn up on this side of the Atlantic as migrants or windblown vagrants."