I'm Going To Make It! Snow Bunting
This Snow Bunting seems to be making a supreme effort to perch on the branch. They are not known as perching birds. We see them more often than not flirting from one part of a field to another and landing on the ground. But, when there is a will there is a way as you will see below.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens mounted on Jobu scorpion ground pod @ 1/1600, f8, ISO 400 +1/3 exposure compensation.
With my painful, old wobby knees, lying flat with the Jobu scorpion pod mount has its advantages apart from shooting low on the ground.
This scene is a setup, what we call here in Quebec 'doing a perch'. The branch is placed in an approriate spot vi-a-vis the light source and background. The birds are enticed to approach using their favourite seeds and with a little luck and a lot of patience, hopefully they land where you want them.
Cropped for composition purposes to an 8 x 12 framing format. Behind the right wing, there was a hint of a far-off out-of-focus telephone pole which I clonned away. Background despeckled to reduce noise.
Joyeux NoŽl - Merry Christmas - Xrystos Narodyvsija
Snowy Owl - Taking Care Of Business
This young Snowy Owl leaves a little gift before taking off. This is a common behaviour seen in Snowy Owls and other species before flight.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens handheld @ 1/800 f4, ISO 400, +1 1/3 exposure compensation.
The sun was low on the late afternoon winter horizon.
I'm getting old, my knees are in terrible shape, and the bulky winter clothing which I'm not used to yet this season destabalized me while getting this low shot. This caused my horizon to be off.
I had to crop a bit to correcet my horizon. Even after correction, it still could use some tweeking.
There is no particular framing size after crop and horizon correction because I doubt I'll frame this one for exposition :-)
Chasing That Female - Mallard Ducks
While waiting for more snow and colder weather to hit our region so that I can continue searching for Snowy Owls, here is a shot from my files. This is not counting all those Greater Snow Geese pics from this Fall on file, too.
These male mallard ducks seem to be chasing after a lone female in this shot.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens with 1.4 II extender on tripod @ 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 400, +1 exposure compensation.
It's always difficult getting multiple birds in focus when using zoom lenses. The depth of field is often too shallow to capture all the birds in focus - that is why I'm happy with this shot.
With the ducks in a line, I cropped to my favourite 8 x 16 frame. About 5-6 water droplets removed.
Snowy Owl - Sneak-Peek On The Fly
This male snowy owl shot is an example of a bad shot gone good.
The owl was perched on a hydro pole and I snapped a few vertical orientated shots of him.
He caught me by surprise and took off while my camera was still in the vertical position.
To save the shot, I cropped away the wasted top and bottom of the image and formatted it to my usual 8 x 16 frame. The full width of the image is uncropped. The result is unusual, but dramatic.
Because the shot was taken at the end of the day - I reduced the cyan in the sky.
Canon 7D with the 500L lens handheld @ 1/400, f 4.5, ISO 400, + 2/3 exposure compensation.
Dawn Ducks On The Draw
I'm still on my crack-of-dawn kick for photographing birds. The advantage here is of course, the unusual colours.
Here are a couple of mallards pass before the morning's first light.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens handheld @ 1/500, f4, ISO 800, +2 1/3 exposure compensation.
Formatted to my usual 8 X 16 frame for exposition purposes.
Snowy Owl - My Day Is Done
This one scene involved a large investment in time added to the usual dose of good luck.
This male Snowy Owl greets the final moments of dusk on his perch. Not exactly up-close as desired by everyone, but how can I resist!
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens with 1.4 extender II on tripod @ 1/800, f 5.6, ISO 400, +2/3 exposure compensation.
Uncropped. A touch of contrast and sharpening applied.
Golden Boy - Snowy Owl At Dusk
This male Snowy owl was caught just before the sun set, giving him a golden glow.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens with the 1.4 extender II on tripod @ 1/500, 5.6, ISO 640, +1 2/3 exposure compensation. No crop.
With the very low light and ISO 640, some noise is to be expected, but for me it is a good trade-off for the light obtained. The same goes for the distance to the owl - that will come with time.
All-in-all, a great beginning for a new season.
Morning Swamp Fog With Ducks And Friend
The Fall weather gives us certain opportunities to photograph ducks in the morning fog at the crack of dawn with colours that are just great!
Here, my friend Rťgean gets ready to photograph ducks into the sun as it bursts over the horizon and burns through the morning fog.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens handheld @ 1/500, f32, ISO 400, -1 1/3 exposure compensation.
Not much done here - a bit of cropping for composition purposes and to frame as a 12 x 16, the usual corrections for contrast, etc.
Paratrooper Greater Snow Goose Showing Off His Size 12 Tootsies
Here is a classic daytime Greater Snow Goose pose, one that I never tire laughing at - in this case, with the added humerous expression on the face.
This Greater Snow Goose shows off his size 12 tootsies as he (or she) turns into the wind to break, lowers the landing gears and awaits for the landing as if on a parachute.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens handheld @ 1/1000, f10, IS0 400, no exposure compensation.
Slight crop to straighten the bird.
Greater Snow Geese Mooning The Moon
It's hard enough photographing birds in flight - for some added fun, try catching them as they pass in front of a moon!
These Greater Snow Geese are turning into the wind and lowering their landing gear before entering the water where they will roost for the night. The moon wasn't totally full but hey, I'll take what I can.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens with 1.4 II extender on a tripod @ 1/1000, f 13, ISO 400, - 1/3 exposure compensation.
Cropped for composition purposes and to eliminate an unwanted fourth bird and to format to a 12 x 16 frame. The late afternoon light gave a golden glow to the geese and the cyan sky hadn't yet taken on its magenta hue. As the moon rose higher in the sky, it presented with more detail and contrast, but by then it was too high for the passage of the geese.
One of the problems with this type of shot is either the moon or the birds will be in focus, and not both, because of the long focal length and relative lack of depth-of-field of the 500mm lens and 1.4 extender.
I would probably have had greater success in getting both in focus using a 70-200mm or 300mm lens, but at the cost of capturing the action farther away. In both cases, there is also the fun of co-ordinating the release of the shutter just at the right moment!
Ideally, I should have at least removed the 1.4 extender. I didn't do so, because I needed it for other shots of the geese as they arrived at tree-top level at a distance - that is the price to pay for trying to do two types of shots at the same time :-)
Crack Of Dawn Ducks
The Greater Snow Goose migration is in full force at the moment in our region, but there are other goodies to photograph at the same time.
With this image, I'm once more into my extreme-light kick with these ducks on the fly at first light. I love the heavily contrasted low-light found at this time of day.
Canon 7D with the 500L f4 lens on tripod @ 1/800, f4, ISO 640, +2 2/3 exposure compensation.
Cropped for composition purposes and to eliminate the head of a third duck behind the Green-winged Teal. The first duck's focus could be better, but considering it was not on the same plane as the second and the poor depth-of-field due to the f4 and lack of light, I'm not expecting perfect sharpness with total absence of noise with these light conditions, therefore I'm happy enough for this kind of shot.