God Bless America!
After my disappointment in finding my favorite Osprey nest was destroyed by Hurricane Irene, I decided I just needed to grab my camera and go shoot.
A closeup shows just how much this bird had to eat. It took him about 5 minutes of flipping and dropping the clam to figure out how to get it in his bill in order to swallow it!
Given how far I had to walk to find these 3 birds, I decided not to bring my big glass with me. The gear I used here was a 70-200 VR II and Tce 2 III, a new birding rig for me. It gave me a zoom range of 140-400. Normally I would select my 200-400 for that focal range in order to have one extra stop of light. But that lens was not with me. The results are not half bad.
If you are wondering how I was able to get this close to a usually very skittish bird, here is the trick. I sat myself down on the beach with my back to the sun (over my right shoulder) and people swimming to my left. The birds, after a short time, didn’t even know I was there. I knew that if I stayed still, they would gradually make their way away from the noisy swimmers and right towards me…..and the beautiful sunset light :-).
Images captured on Nikon D3x w/70-200 2.8 VR II and Tce 2 III on Lexar Digital film.
Well, Irene has come and gone. The damage in this area was great. In fact, 8 days later and still not everyone has power. I had hoped to do some bird photography this weekend. Long holiday weekend at one of my favorite spots, the east end of Long Island. I was curious how well the Osprey nest that I frequent held up. My wife picked me up at the train station and after greeting each other I told her to drive past the nest. Unfortunately, this is what I found.
All nesting material was piled up under the platform. I used my long glass to make sure none of the Osprey were in the rubble but I couldn’t see well as this pole is protected in a tidal marsh. One can only hope.
I have spent a lot of time over the last 2 years at this nest, I hope the breeding pair will return in the spring. I did spend about an hour watching and listening to see if I could locate any of the nests 5 previous inhabitants but they were no where to be found. In fact, there were 3 breeding pairs and chicks in 3 different nests along Dune Rd this year and none of them had any sign of Osprey :-(.
Here are some of the pictures I have taken from this nest.
And one of my all time favorite images……..
One positive thing came out of my disappointment in not getting to see the Osprey one last time this summer. I decided I need to keep better research notes. When I returned home and looked through the notes I had kept on the nest, I realized I did a poor job and needed to better document my birding experiences in the future. So now I am on the lookout for a good birding journal app for the iPad. Anyone know of a good one?
I know, I know. My blogging has been poor recently. As you read this I am off bringing my middle son to college. Between our 2 week trip to Europe, getting 2 boys ready for college, a job and oh yeah, Irene, it has been a mess around here.
One of our stops while traveling to Europe was Koper, Slovenia. On a drive from Koper to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s Capital, we passed by the Nanos Mountains just after sunrise. What struck me about this image was the back lighting of the mountain with the dark forest in the foreground. It made me think of the mountain rising with the sun.
My only regret is that I was not there an hour earlier to get better light. It would have been killer on those clouds. Alas, the difficulty of traveling around Europe with 16 people!
Image captured with Nikon D700, 24-120 VR I on Lexar digital film.
Here is a picture of the Red Tailed Hawk that was chasing the crow in our yard right before Irene hit.
He is giving me the same look I give my wife every once in a while 🙂
Image captured with Nikon D3x and 200-400 f/4 on Lexar digial film.
Well Google+ has already paid some dividends. I started using “Sparks” and selected “birding” and “wildlife” as topics I was interested in. Sure enough the first story that came up was that the State of New Hampshire had just created a new wildlife website (www.wildnh.com).
Available on this new website is New Hampshire’s Wildlife Viewing and Birding Trails Guide.
If you would like to try Google+ and need an invitation, I have a few left. Just click on this link: Google+ Invites
One of the stops on our European trip was Venice.
I’m going to give everyone a tip here, fairly common knowledge photographically but said in a different way than you have been used to hearing it. Photography is an art that sees 360°, make sure you do as well. Don’t always look in front of you, look up, look down and look behind you, you never know what you might see. Had I not looked up, I would have missed the cloud pattern behind St, Marks Clock Tower. To finish this image I used Nik Filters “Monday Morning”.
I used Nik Filters “Glamour Glow” to finish this image. The morning light hits the walls in Venice with a special touch. One of the things I don’t like about vacation photography is that you are never in the right spot at the right time of the day. Put differently, I wish I could have parked my butt in one or two spots at sunrise and sunset and just took advantage of the light…no such luck!
I dont think I executed the above image the way I wanted to. I saw the image differently when I pressed the shutter but the result was not what I wanted. One problem with this image is that I am shooting up from the street. Causes the proportions of the window to look funny.
This image was finished with Nik Filters “Tonal Contrast”
Overall, the colors in Venice are incredible. It is definitely on my list of places to revisit. One day was not enough time.
Images captured with Nikon D700 and 24-120 VR I on Lexar Digital film.
You may have noticed that I have been a poor blogger the last few weeks. The reason is I have been in Europe celebrating my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary.
I have been incredibly blessed during my life. I have had the love and support of both of my parents and have watched them mature (ahem, get old) with grace and dignity…..together. They have reaped the rewards of the seeds they have sown. I also have a great wife and 3 beautiful, albeit mostly grown children (you can tell I don’t like the mostly grown part) ;-). Our family, my folks, wife, children and my 2 sisters clans equate to 16 people. As most of you know, organizing 16 people to go to Europe is a Herculean task but with 1 1/2 years planning, we were able to make it happen.
My father paid Paula and I $50 to kiss Margaret to make this picture :-). (Actually I am making that up to distract people from realizing I am holding a Barry Manilow album)!
One of the gifts we presented my parents while on our trip were 2 DVD’s with all of their 8mm and Super 8mm films set to music. They truly enjoyed being able to watch their wedding day festivities with their children and grand children.
As I prepared for our trip, I decided to tie a photographic challenge into the mix for me. My challenge was to take only one body (Nikon D700) and one lens (the old, 24-120) and try to photograph images of famous places differently than others have done. I will share some of the results with you over the coming weeks. As you can imagine, I have about 75 GB of new images to process and review. My goal is to present my parents with a book of the images from this great trip as a remembrance of the 12 days we all spent together celebrating their never ending love.
Images captured with Nikon D700 and 24-120 VR I, on Lexar Digital Film
The above picture was taken along Dune Rd in Quogue at sunrise. As you can tell, this male was in full breeding plumage and trying to impress the ladies!
A little further down the road, this group of Snowy Egrets was working a tidal pool. I must have been a tad late to this party as the feeding was limited. I suspect they cleaned the tidal pool out before I got there.
Images captured with D700, 600mm f/4 w/1.4 TCe on Lexar Digital Film
Its a known fact that Red Winged Blackbirds like to harass Osprey. This really isn’t an issue for just Osprey but Raptors in general.
I have documented this several times at the Osprey nests I visit. As one would expect this behavior is more common when the Osprey and Red Winged Blackbirds are sharing nesting locations.
On a recent trip to one of the nests, I was able to capture this in flight pursuit.
What interests me most about this behavior is it seems to be specific to a few of the Red Winged Blackbirds. There are times I visit these nests and the birds all seem to coexist without any interaction. There are other times when the Red Winged Blackbirds are relentless in their pursuit of the Osprey, so much so, that photographing and observing the Osprey’s behavior (yes, observation is a major part of what I do when I go to photograph subjects) can be difficult.
Photos captured with D3x/D700 w/600mm f/4 on Lexar Digital Film