Saturday, January 29, 2011

American Widgeon

Technical: Canon 1D4, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II + 1.4x TC @ 280mm, f/7.1, 1/640s, ISO 400.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's so special about La Jolla?

I've had a few people ask me what is so special about La Jolla when it comes to the California Brown Pelican. Of course, the Pelicans can be observed and photographed up in Northern California where I live, so why go all the way down to the San Diego area?

Photographically it comes down to three important factors:
  1. Accessibility - the Pelicans are easy to access and easy to get close without scaring them away.
  2. Background - when shooting on the cliffs of La Jolla, you can put the pacific ocean in the background which combined with its deep blue and relative distance to your subjects makes for a pleasing background.
  3. Eye level - With the numerous ridged areas, its easy to slip down into one of them to photograph Pelicans landing while being at completely eye level to them.

If the wind conditions are like they were for us on Sunday, its very easy to just sit there and get image after image of Pelicans with their wings spread or landing gear down like the image above.

The other thing that appeals to a lot of photographers is that its easy to make good images with modest gear. For example the images in this post were made with the Canon 400 f/5.6 and 70-200 lenses which when compared to their super-telephoto brethren are downright cheap. Even the modestly priced 70-300 should be able to give great images at this location. Of course the super telephotos will allow one to make images with a different look, just at the image I posted a couple of days ago and see how much smoother and more pleasing the background is.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coot Portrait

The American Coot is a fairly common bird in North America. One of the challenges is in getting an exposure that has sufficient detail in the body without blowing the whites. The other challenge is in getting a good angle on these birds as they are fairly small and don't fly up that often. To make this image I was lying completely flat on the ground with the Coot only a few feet away.

Technical: Canon 1D4, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II + 1.4x TC @ 280mm, f/7.1, 1/1250s, ISO 400.

Monday, January 24, 2011

La Jolla Pelican

I flew down to San Diego this weekend for the opportunity to photograph the California Brown Pelican with their red bill pouches. I couldn't the time to spend more than just the two days of the weekend but despite some challenges the La Jolla cliffs were productive. It ended up being very windy on Sunday which allowed me to create some interesting landing images (coming soon), at least until all the Pelicans just took up and left because of the extreme wind.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 800, f/7.1, 1/800s, ISO 200.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three Amigos

Tomorrow I leave for San Diego for the weekend. I'm flying down for a quick trip to photograph the California Brown Pelicans at La Jolla as well as whatever waders I can find at Santee Lakes. Hopefully this year is as productive as it was last time.

Technical: Canon 1D4, 800, f/7.1, 1/1600s, ISO 800.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In Need of a Manicure

Its been a while since I had worked on one of my Galapagos images. The more I go through the images of the Marine Iguanas the more I want to return to the Galapagos. These guys are just so much fun to photograph.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 70-200 2.8 II @ 130mm, f/11, 1/160s, ISO 400.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron can be difficult to tell apart from a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, but in this case I had several more images of the bird and also knowing the location and time of year am able to be sure it is a YCNH.

I made this image at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida last May. I am looking forward to returning there during our family vacation in February.

Technical Specs: 1D4, 500 f/4 IS, f/4.5, 1/250s, ISO 800.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Many professionals (usually people who sell images to various publishers) look down upon images where a bird casts a shadow on itself. Fortunately, I'm not burdened with the task of trying to sell my images and I actually like the shadow of the head being cast on the open wing.

Technical: 1D4, 800, f/7.1, 1/1250s, ISO 800.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wood as Rock

On my way to Bosque last month I stopped off for a quick scouting/shooting session at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

It was a very cloudy afternoon which made it easier to get all the rich color in the petrified wood to come out.

I was very impressed with what I saw and I could probably easily spend a couple of days there in the future.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Mountain Bluebird

I had a difficult time picking between an image of this beautiful bird in landscape orientation (above) or one in portrait orientation (below). Which do you prefer?

Technical: 1D4, 800, f/10, 1/500s, ISO 400.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Red-necked Grebe Nesting

This is an image that has grown on me considerably since I made the original capture seven months ago. The Red-necked Grebe will periodically stand up and shore up the nest. Sometimes, it will trade off with the other parent (didn't happen this time). There will always be at least one parent in the nest while the eggs are being incubated.

Technical: Canon 1D4, 800, f/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 400.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Snow Geese Galore

I created this digital composite from about 6 individual frames. There are snow goose heads and wings all over the image. I'm still a little torn on just how much I like this image, so I'm going to create a giant print out of it to see if that makes a difference.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sandie Cry

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 800, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 400.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

This year I kick things off my photographing my favorite subject, Maya.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 35L, f/1.4, 1/50s, ISO 1600.