Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Reward Winning Photograph of a Dog's Rear End? Not Likely.

When shooting photographs you get a lot of great photos that are just not right.  Here is one of Jannie, my friends dog.  Beautiful shot but who really wants a picture of a dogs rear end?

Unedited.  Don't really know if processing could improve it much.

Now for some older photographs that are a little more interesting.  Not dog rear ends anyway.

Photo from January when the eagles were building the nest.  This would be the size of what we call a switch here in Mississippi.

These hawks are really prettier than eagles.  They are very common in this area but usually they will not let you get this close to them.  I took this photograph riding down the road.  I just stopped and shot it out the window of my car.  The hawk just sat there and watched me.  Other hawks would have flown off as soon as I had stopped.  I believe it is a red tailed hawk, but there are several hawks very similar to them so I will not say for certain it is a red tailed hawk.

This is one of the hawks whose range covers much of the same area as the pair of eagles.  Early in the year, I saw two hawks, that were probably this one and its mate, do a maneuvers together that looks very much like the description of the mating ritual of eagles.  I have not read that these hawks mate in this way, but whatever these two were doing looked very much like the description of the mating flights of their larger brothers.  They flew together and kind of rolled.  I don't know if they locked talons, but it was possible that they did.  I failed to get a photograph of them.  I was not expecting it, and at the time my mobility was much more limited than it is today.  I was just not quick enough to get the shot.  Capturing any bird in flight can be quite challenging.  Often you are presented with a great shot but your camera tries to refocus and you lose the shot because the auto focus is constantly changing.  I don't know if I missed that shot for this reason, but it is very possible since I have done that many, many times.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I put my foot in my mouth.

If you ever need to apologize, feel free to use this photograph in your note to the offended party.

Even majestic birds have their frumpled look.

This weekend I got a 2x extender for my camera.  The lenses I have will not work with the Canon extender, so I purchased the one I believe is the best for my use.  The extender with a 70-300 lenses does so some weird things.  I knew the auto-focus would not work, but other things work odd also.  The exposure is weird, basically you set the amount of exposure by setting the speed, and the camera seems to use whatever exposure it wants to use.  Do the old fashion bracket the exposure until you get it right.  The image stabilizer works sometimes and sometimes works really weird.  The main thing is that at 600 mm total length  it is super sensitive.  If you put it on live view and hit the digital magnification to 10x the preview image jumps all over even locked on the tripod and using a remote control.  It does work more normally if you do not zoom all the way out, but I want all the magnification I can get for these photographs.

I am glad I got the extender for it took these photos in today's post and they could not have been taken without the extender.  I would love to be able to buy better equipment.  Canon's 2x extender, their EF800mm f5.6l IS USM and a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III to start would work.  How much would that cost?  $16,000 plus and probably $3,000 or $4,000 for all the other stuff to go with it.  Of course if you had that much invested you would also need a up to date computer with 2 or 3 terabyte hard drive, blue-ray burner and the professional version of Photoshop and Lightbox.  I really doubt many people on disability can afford to spend this type of money unless they were professionals or have the right person for a relative.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today I went to therapy.  In front of the place, where mobility impaired people are dropped off, was this unique bike.

I did not get to see who was using it but I would have liked to meet him, or her.  We have very few commuter cyclist in this area so I always find it interesting to see who rides bikes for transportation around here.

On the way to a friend's house saw a dove resting on a fence.  Not the best of photographs due to not being spot on with the focus.  When trying to adjust the lighting contrast I happened on this setting.  Highlights and contrast set darker.  Made it look like a painting without using the artistic effects functions.

Most of the good photographs of the eagles I take are shot from a small blackberry brier patch in the middle of a young stand of pine trees.  Today there were three pieces of what appeared to me to be white down in the brier patch.  Because of their location and the lack of other white birds in the area, these are likely from one of the eagles.  I would love to find a tail feather from one of the eagles.  The wing feathers would be all black and it would be hard to tell it apart from many other birds like a vulture, but a tail feather would be large and white.  I am not clear about the law on eagle feathers.  I know it is against the law to possess any parts from one, but does this include feathers you find on the ground?  I left the down where it was.  If I showed it off, anyone doubting its source would just think it was goose down anyway.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sitting Around

I am not much at creating art.  I took a photo today of a dove landing in a dead tree through the branches of young pine trees.  This photo is one a person good with photoshop could probably make into art.  Here is my attempt at being artistic.

Update on the two love birds.  It appears that the female is now sitting on an egg or eggs.  Since Saturday she is spending a large amount of time sitting in the nest.  When she is not sitting in the nest her mate is watching the nest.  Interesting enough, I never see him sit on the eggs.  He just sits on his favorite branch above the nest.  All this week, I have not seen the birds leave the nest alone.

Going to other sites they say this would be late in the season for incubation.  The birds may be getting a late start for some reason.  Incubation is about 35 days.  If she laid eggs about Saturday the eaglets should be born right around Easter.  I am so ready to see the young, I had hoped it would be earlier.

Here is a photo of mom sitting on the nest with dad behind her sitting around and watching the bird version of TV.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Gone Fishing!

Just sharing this photo.  If you are a fisherman or just a lover of wildlife, I thought you may appreciate this photo.  Feel free to download it to your smartphone, or computer if you can use it.
Went and watched the eagles on their nest again today.  One of the birds was acting like it was feeding young ones.  It would tilt its head back and act like it was regurgitating food for its young.  Then it would repeatedly bow its head down into the nest.

I took several pictures of the eagle when it bowed down.  I was hoping to be able to see an eaglet later when I examined the photos on my computer.  I must report I found no evidence to confirm there is a chick in the nest.  This one photo shows several pine cones right near the eagle so one can compare it to the bird.  I will try to find a pine cone like one of these to measure its size.  The typical pine cone around here is 6 or so inches. 
Pine Cones close to Eagle Look Small

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Three new bird photos

Today I went to the local bird's nest and saw quite a lot of activity.  It is hard to tell if there are chicks in the nest, but I believe it is probable.  The parents are not acting like they are incubating eggs to me.  Today was in the 40F's and I would think they would sit on the eggs more if they were in the incubation stage.  One of them was doing quite a lot when it first arrived at the nest.  When it was flying up, it had something in its talons.  It looked like a snake but could have simply been a stick to add to the nest.  I took a photo of it flying up but it was bad because of the lack of light.  I had the camera set to Aperture Priority and the low speed it selected made the photo very blurry.  The first bird spent quite a bit of time down in the nest doing something, moving around quite a bit.

One of the parents is in the nest.  Look closely you can see its head.

Here everything looks nice and peaceful.

OK, Is this a squabble going on?

These photos were taken sitting in my car.  I could have gotten closer, but the closer you get the less you see because of the angle you see them from.  I also try to stay back far enough not to spook them.

There are web-cams that have been placed near Eagle's nests in other states to watch the young when they are in the nest.  Being so close to businesses, this site would make a good place for a web-cam.  You could hardwire it with a CAT5 cable if someone climbed up the tree next to this one and installed one.  It would be close enough for a Wifi connection if they wanted to use a Wifi enabled webcam.  You could not do it now but Eagle's use the same nest year after year, so it could probably be done for next year.  Maybe a wildlife agency could coordinate with one of the nearby businesses to put a solar powered wireless webcam up with the birds.  If they did the birds would probably decide to use it for a perch.
One of the parents either feeding young or else fixing the nest.