Author Archives: Vincent Mistretta
Looking Forward to Barnegat Jetty
Lets face it, I don’t love the cold weather. Give me the choice of somewhere warm vs. cold and I take the warm location every time. The exceptions are for my son who plays hockey (usually cold places :-)) and for photography. Some of the best photographic locations in the world are even more beautiful in the winter. The winter also affords the opportunity to photograph some bird species not around during the warmer weather. One such magical place is Barnegat Jetty in New Jersey. If you would like some background information on the location check out my Barnegat Jetty Post from last year.
I loved the Harlequin Ducks that I photographed at the Jetty last year. They are beautiful birds.
I look forward to getting back to Barnegat over Christmas break in order to photograph these wonderful birds and a host of other “winter only” residents that call Barnegat their home away from home.
Happy Veteran’s Day – Thank You for Your Service
After 9 days of no power or internet, things are finally getting back to normal around here. All family members are present and accounted for and thankfully limited damage to our family’s homes thanks to Sandy.
But the thing we should be most thankful for is the sacrifice so many living and deceased have made defending our right to be free!
My Recent Birding is Fun Post
Thank you for the kind words about the images I made while at Pemaquid Lighthouse in Bristol Maine. I promised a few more when I had time to sit down at the computer and process some more images. It feels like the weekends are the only time I have now for working on my images. Here are two more Lighthouse shots.
I also took the following 2 images that I really like while at Boothbay Harbor. We were trying to photograph a famous lighthouse named Cuckolds Lighthouse but the location of the sun just wasn’t right so we had to settle on finding other subjects.
Images Captured with Nikon D3x, 70-200 VRII and 200-400 VRI on Lexar Digital Film
One Of My Favorite New England Landmarks
It never seems to fail that whenever I visit Pemaquid Point Lighthouse I come away with images I really like. I spent 5 days last week searching for fall color in Maine. Fall color has been somewhat limited this year due in part because of the extremely warm fall we have had here in New England. A cold snap is just what you need for the leaves to start turning colors. Since we had limited fall foliage to occupy our pixels, we decided to turn our attention to some of Maine’s historic lighthouses. No mention of lighthouses would be complete without a trip to Pemaquid Point.
The above image was taken from below the lighthouse from almost in the water. I would like to caution anyone thinking of replicating this image to proceed with caution as this location is very dangerous. Especially true in the dark!
We were very fortunate to have stormy wet weather for the 5 days of our journey. Stormy weather can be a photographers best friend….at least sometimes ;-). It is amazing how the clouds here can add to the drama of the scene. They also act like a light box, changing the mood, color and texture of the light on a regular basis. Here are just 2 of my favorite images. I will post others as I have time to process them. I hope you enjoy them.
Images captured with Nikon D3x, 27-70 f2.8 (split grad ND, top image) on Lexar Digital Film
Out Of My Comfort Zone
I am currently on a trip photographing fall foliage in Maine. An opportunity presented itself for me to photograph vintage aircraft from the Texas Flying Legends Museum.
The opportunity was unique in that the airport where the Legends were flying had a backdrop of fall foliage.
I was apprehensive about spending 8 hours on an airfield in the middle of fall foliage season. I especially felt this way since frankly aviation photography was something I had never done before. Not only was it a really fun day, but it was phenomenal to see the faces on the Veterans who came out to see the very planes they flew in missions protecting our freedom. It was an awesome day.
Images Captured on Nikon D3x w 200-400 VR I on Lexar Digital Film.
I received an email after my recent post about seeing and photographing a new bird species in my yard. That species was was a House Wren. There is nothing like the exhilaration associated with this adding a new species to your files and life lists.
The email I received asked how close I was in order to make these images? He knew of my own standard of not cropping or post processing my wildlife images. (The only images I apply post processing to are artistic in nature, like landscapes). I told the reader I was about 12′ from this branch which is the mfd (minimum focusing distance) for my Nikon 600mm f/4. The question in his followup email is the basis for this post.
So here is the question; How do I get that close?
Here are my tips for getting close to the birds.
1) Try to have something between you and your subjects, like a fence or a shrub. It usually makes the birds more comfortable.
2) Wear dark clothes. Try to avoid anything reflective or shiny.
3) Remove straps from your camera. To a bird they look like talons hanging from a predator.
4) Once you find your spot, stand still and be patient. You may have to wait 30 minutes before birds will return to the feeder. The great thing about this tip is you get to just enjoy the birds, weather and your surroundings.
5) When the first birds return, continue to stand motionless, don’t attempt to photograph the first birds.
6) The most successful position I have found is to “hide” behind your tripod and camera and use your free eye to watch the feeder. If you move unexpectedly to photograph a subject that lands on the perch, you will most likely scare them. (Tip, while you are waiting for the action to start, make sure your nose and mouth are to either side of the eye piece to ensure you dont fog up the eye piece!)
Realize that the tips I have here are general. I have found over the years that these work consistently for me. But I must admit that I have to make some adjustments depending on the species I want to photograph. In particular, Cardinals and Blue Jays prefer I am further away from the feeders than say Tufted Titmice or House Finches. What I usually do in this regard is to start close to the feeders and then retreat to a location further away. The only way you will know is by trial and error. But that is what makes it fun!
New Species in my Yard
I was thrilled to see a new visitor to our feeders yesterday.
While I know House Wrens are considered a common species, I have not had the pleasure of sighting and/or photographing one. When I first saw these 2, I thought for a minute that they might be in the Nuthatch family. I was especially drawn to this conclusion by the tail position of the Wren in the the photo below.
However, after doing some research I realized it was not a type of Nuthatch but in fact a House Wren. Apparently my incorrect species identification is a common one ;-).
I believe based on comparing these images that this must be a mating pair. I did in fact place a wren box on the edge of the woods this past winter hoping it would provide some shelter for some of the birds. I suspect that these Wrens have either been using this box and that I have not seen them before or the more likely scenario is that these two found our feeders on their migration south.
Images captured with Nikon D3x, 600mm f/4 w/TC-14eII on Lexar digital film.