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Posts from the ‘Birds’ Category

New Bird in Town – D810 Comments

I’ve blogged here on numerous occasions about urban wildlife such as the blue heron’s that frequent Elm Park.  (Elm Park is located in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts).  Today, however, we found ourselves confronted with a heron of a different color, white.

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I did a bit of quick research upon returning home, looking at questions such as “what is the difference between a heron and an egret?” and “what is the range of the white egret, or heron?”  Alas, my efforts were somewhat frustrated.   According to Wikipedia the difference between heron and egret is largely terminological rather than biological.  Egrets tend to be white.  If you google the two terms and check on images, you’ll see the same kinds of images.  My bottom line question really was:  are they new in town?  Memory tells me yes.  They are very common in the mid-Atlantic and further south, but I don’t recall seeing too many in New England.  Someone educate me if my memory is off, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Photographing these birds is relatively easy.  You can get quite close if are are respectful and quiet. After all, this was in a downtown park, not exactly the middle of the marsh.  Herons also don’t seem to be easily distracted from their work, which is fishing.  Unfortunately for this fair specimen, he was having little luck.  We watched him for quite some time and he was coming up empty beaked, every time.  Herons are usually better at their jobs than that.  This one may need to step up his game.  The best shot is often one with them flying in or out, or exhibiting their catch.  This guy stood there and though his forays into the water were very graceful, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

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It was tough to get another interesting shot until a well timed flock of geese flew across the scene.  He was actually startled for a second, but the incident did give me some background that was badly needed.

 

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It will be interesting to see if his presence in the Park is a trend or an outlier.  Or, as I mentioned above, is only of interest because of my failing memory.  Regardless, I do wish him good luck fishing.  He needs it.

Tech Note:

Much as I dislike the kind of photographic gear discussions that take place on the internet, I did want to mention that these shots were taken with Nikon’s newest DSLR, the D810.  I’ve been a Nikon user for many years, and really enjoyed the image output from the D800.  If you print large for exhibitions, all those pixels are useful.  Plus, the D800 has incredible dynamic range, very useful for nature work.  However, it always felt to me like it was really a studio, tripod camera, and handled more like the medium format cameras it has been replacing.  I also like to shot more spontaneously from time to time.  The D810 now makes that possible.  In many different ways, Nikon fixed things that weren’t broken, but made it hard to really relax with the D800.  The grip is better, the shutter is much quieter, the shutter mechanism does not create vibrations that undermine the high resolution power of the images, the video features are improved, etc.  In this case, all those pixels allowed me to crop heavily into the image.  These are all the equivalent of a 100% crop.  Obviously I should have had a longer lens, but alas, I did not.  I could go on and on, but others are doing a much better job of actually reviewing this piece of gear.  If you have a D800 though, it may not look like a worthwhile upgrade.  It actually may be for some people, particularly those desiring to make the D800 a real “go to” camera.  Again, I dislike tribal gear discussions.  All cameras these days are quite good.  It really boils down to trying to find the one that does the job you need, and with which you can be most comfortable.  That is likely to vary from person to person.

The Mystery of Nature

I’ve been keeping my head down, figuratively that is, more like sticking it in front of the computer. I’m working on a book about a very special place, and I’ll share more about that soon.  One of the inspirations for the work is the notion of “mystery” and what we don’t understand.  There is really so much in nature that escapes us and I’ve been looking at images from my collections that illustrate that joyous yet perplexing fact.  Here’s one from Manteo taken in 2012.

Gulls over Roanoke Sound - 2012

Obviously it’s a bunch of gulls in a frenzy.  But, what was the frenzy all about?  Normally you’d think “gulls going crazy, must be a fishing boat around here someone throwing some waste overboard.”  Good guess, but in this case, no boat.  I’m standing on the deck of a condo in Manteo, North Carolina. I felt I could practically reach out and touch them.  And no, I didn’t have anything for them to eat.  (You should never feed wildlife, even gulls, with the exception of the strategically thought out bird feeder.)  Of course, maybe they were hamming it up for the camera.  Glad I could oblige.  They were quite professional as colleagues go.

From a Different Perspective

I’m going to be posting a new series of images from the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This is a wonderful location, but one that does not easily succumb to the photographic eye, at least my photographic eye.  It’s a different kind of challenge.  There is nature everywhere, and at the same time, there is considerable development as you can guess.  The Outer Banks are barrier islands and these will move over time.  Meanwhile, though, to a considerable degree there is some kind of harmony between people and nature, for now.

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Make hay while the sun shines.  More to come.

 

 

Swipes (and a Blue Heron) Across Elm Park

I’m taking some liberties with the term swipe here.  A swipe, as I was taught, involves slowing down the shutter speed of your camera to as slow as perhaps 1/2 second and moving the camera in order to create a kind of moving blur, one that gives a sense of movement.  It helps if you’ve got a colorful landscape scene with which to deal.  I this case, I inadvertently created a swipe when trying to capture the flight of a blue heron across the pond in Elm Park, Worcester, Massachusetts.  You can deal with motion in a number of different ways.  You can use a high shutter speed to freeze the action.  You can also, however, sacrifice sharpness by slowing your shutter speed to the point at which the movement itself is captured.  This gives you an abstract representation of the subject (i.e., sharp, it ain’t).  Enough with the lecture.  Here’s a slide show of what happened when a blue heron, a common site in Elm Park, decided he’d had enough of the nosey photographer.

 

Photographers of Planet Earth

I was recently honored by having been asked to submit my favorite image and some accompany text explanation to an interesting blog, Photographers of Planet Earth.  After agonizing over the question, which one is my favorite, this one got the nod.

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It’s actually been posted here before, so I guess I really do like it.  The question though as I say got me thinking.  They wanted my favorite, not the ones that others might like.  It’s actually a useful way to reflect on your work.  If you click over there, you’ll see what I had to say the choice, so I won’t bore you here.

If you like nature oriented photography, I’d encourage you to have a look at Photographers of Planet Earth.  They don’t seem to be selling anything at this point, so you only stand to risk a bit of your time.  Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATE:  Speaking of selling something,, I just went to preview my blog, a common act before publishing it, and found that in the preview WordPress was warning me that my visitors would be seeing advertisements, over which I had no control.  So it could be some horrendous political garbage or other kinds of crap, which would for me hurt the experience of the viewer.  It’s enough that you have to put up with my rants, you shouldn’t be exposed to worse.  So, I purchased the “No Ad” upgrade.  I didn’t really mind, WordPress has been hosting this blog for quite some time for no charge, they have to make money and selling ads is the way to do it.  The bottom line is, you shouldn’t see any ads on this site.  If you do please let me know via the comments.  Thanks.