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HI Spring Migration of April.17,18,19 of  2013 : On April 17, 18, and 19, 2013, Jay Mangum and I spent our first visit this year in the blind at High Island, Boy Scout Woods.  Scott Meyer joined us on the 18th and 19th.  Wednesday started with a rainstorm and cold, rain, and clouds plagued us most of the time, ditto a lack of birds.  I have over the last five years noticed when there are both high winds and a lack of sun there are no birds.  We did in fact have some birds, but they were very few in number and variety compared to other seasons.

I have posted in this gallery a variety of the birds we did see and shoot.  For me it turned into a photography study.  I was experimenting with a variety of flash techniques and ways in which I could maximize the depth of field.  I had decided after careful consideration that it was the birds movement, not within the focal plane, but normal to that plane, and it was that movement that took the bird or parts of the bird out of the depth of field and hence out of focus.  I shot high speed flash mode shooting some shots with a shutter speed as high as 1/1600 sec. In this mode however, the lens is opened all the way, minimizing the depth of field.  I did compensate by pulling back on the focal length shooting between 450mm and 500mm instead of extending all the way out to 600mm.  I have plans to try other flash techniques next week, in order to shoot with a higher F-stop in order to increase depth of field.  The down side of this will be shooting with a higher intensity flash.

HI Spring Migration of April.17,18,19...

AubreyC

On April 17, 18, and 19, 2013, Jay Mangum and I spent our first visit ...

Updated: Apr 16, 2015 1:55am PST

Ducks at Lamar Penisula on 122212 : Went to the shoot ducks on the little lake on 4th Street on the Lamar Peninsula.  See 'Map This' button for view of lake.  I went with oldest son and my 12 year old grandson.  Duck hunters blasting away out in the bay, members of local hunting club.  Seems that a lot of ducks stay on the little lake while the hunters are shooting.  Saw mainly Pintails with some Redheads.  Also, there were a pair of Greater Scaups and a pair of Buffleheads.  There are at least a dozen Whooping Cranes that are making this there seasonal home again.  During the next couple of months.  There should be more varieties of ducks.  Around noon when the shooting stops the dabblers fly out of the lake and feed along the shoreline of the bay.  Flying in and out of the little lake makes for some great in flight shots.

Ducks at Lamar Penisula on 122212

AubreyC

Went to the shoot ducks on the little lake on 4th Street on the Lamar ...

Updated: Feb 06, 2015 2:10am PST

Ducks and Whoopers at Lamar Peninsula on 010613 : Jay and I made a 400 mile round trip to Lamar Peninsula to try to get some ducks in flight.  When we arrived there were less than a dozen and one-half ducks there.  The bonanza though was a male Bufflehead in breeding plumage with his mate and two Green-wing teal males.  Normally there would be three to four dozen Pintails and Redheads on the lake and they would fly out over time in predictable paths allowing for fairly close shots in good light.  The few Pintails and Redheads that were there gave as many opportunities for in flight shots in good light.  As for the Green-wing Teal, they are afternoon opportunities.  In the afternoon from about 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM the light is across the lake and if you stand at the edge of the reeds for cover and wait the Green-wing teal usually swim over to that side.  Even so, you are afforded a shot at least half the distance across the lake as from the end of the lake by Beachfront Road.  As for the divers, given patience and little motion, they eventually swim up toward the beach end of the lake where the deep water affords good diving and feeding.  The opposite end has the depths for dabblers.  Click on the 'Map This' button for a map of the lake's layout.

Usually on a day at that lake I would have at least 3000 shots, this day it was on 500.  I have tried to post a sampling of what the day was like.

Ducks and Whoopers at Lamar Peninsula...

AubreyC

Jay and I made a 400 mile round trip to Lamar Peninsula to try to get ...

Updated: Feb 06, 2015 2:05am PST

Spring Migration - High Island 2010: Best Days  04/10 : April 27th of 2010 was the 9th day of ten I spent in the blind in Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary managed by the Houston Audubon Society in High Island.  This turned out to be the best day from many aspects among them were the weather, the light, the variety and numbers of birds, the photography setup.

When I finished my ten days in the blind and three days photographing at the Smith Oaks Rookery, I found that I wasn't in a position to post-process the photographs.  My camera had a rather low signal to noise ratio, too low for photographing at ISOs higher than 200.  Photographing at ISO200 and lower did not totally offset the noise problem, because in many cases I was forced too shot under-exposed which cause low signal to noise ratios.   I found that a large part of the problem also was due to the camera manufacture's conversion software both in the camera and the PC based raw file conversion software.  This prompted a search on my part to find ways around the dilemma, because I knew that there were a lot of good birds photographed and many of the raw files had to be salvageable I delayed process.

Since that time I have developed the techniques to allow shooting with the camera at higher ISOs, but in addition I found and purchased a pre-process/post-processing software program by a major player in the field that was able to convert raw files from my camera and mitigate most of the noise problems.  I purchased that software a couple of months ago, but only after going through a big learning curve and practicing on hundreds of photos did I feel I was in a position to now process the ten days worth of photos taken in the blind at High Island during this past Spring Migration.

These photos taken during the 27th of April 2010 is the first group.  I hope you enjoy them.

The experience of sitting all day long as quietly as possible allowed the observations of bird behaviors of many species.  My hope is that with all I have learned about photography since then, pre-processing/post-processing, and bird behavior that I will be able to spend another 10 days again this next Spring.

Spring Migration - High Island 2010: ...

AubreyC

April 27th of 2010 was the 9th day of ten I spent in the blind in Boy ...

Updated: Dec 19, 2014 5:03am PST

Cataloochee National Park - Nov. 8, 2011 : On 2nd day in Gatlinburg, November 8, 2011, we decided to go to the Cataloochee National Park to get photographs of elk.   The park is in the mountains above Maggie Valley, NC.  Re-establishing elk in this part of the country is a project of the National Forest Service.  This day, not only did I get quite a few opportunities to shoot elk in Cataloochee Park, but photographed some in Cherokee, NC on the way.  We probably missed the rut by 3 or 4 weeks, and was probably just as well.  I really didn't want to take a ride on one of those racks.  Of the hundreds of photographs I took, I am displaying only 25 and they are from the 'G' rated ones.  This the time of the year that activity is not simply restricted to grazing.

Cataloochee National Park - Nov. 8, 2011

AubreyC

On 2nd day in Gatlinburg, November 8, 2011, we decided to go to the Ca ...

Updated: Oct 11, 2014 4:42pm PST

Water Fowl : Ducks, Geese, Swans and more

Water Fowl

PeacefulPlaces

Ducks, Geese, Swans and more

Updated: Jun 18, 2014 8:21pm PST

Seabrook Osprey et all on 1/11/12 : Photographing birds and the general surrounds while sitting on the edge of the little bay that runs between Todville Rd. and Hwy. 146 is such a relaxing thing.  There is a good variety of species there, but the highlight are the Ospreys that migrate to the bay this time of year.  The success though is tied to the light, the wind velocity and direction, and the tide.  The wind velocity within a range of 5 to 12 miles an hour is really good and the direction between SW and SE keeps the birds taking off and landing in your direction.  As for the tide, in order to get the birds that feed in the bay close enough for better camera close-ups - the gulls, the pelicans, the terns, the cormorant, and especially the Osprey - the tide needs to be at the high point so that water deep enough to allow fishing in close to the camera position.

On this day I had the pleasure of fellow photographers Ken Coleman and Steve Mahurin joining me.  The company was good and there a lot to shoot.  I have included a map with red X's to indicate a couple of the best locations, and if you click on the 'Map This' button above Google Map has map pins inserted for my camera position for each photo.  If the pins seem to be all in one location, it is because I have the brakes set on my chair.

Seabrook Osprey et all on 1/11/12

AubreyC

Photographing birds and the general surrounds while sitting on the edg ...

Updated: Jun 06, 2014 12:31am PST

Jacob_012111 and Sony G 70-400 zoom : First test of the rental Sony G series 70-400mm zoom.  Pictures of Jacob shot indoors with flash at a distance of about 15 feet.  Details below photo.  All photos with the exception of cropping and one that had exposure adjust were converted as they came out of the camera.  Next I did pre-parametric editing in ACR and post-processing using CS5 as described in the comments below each picuture.

Jacob_012111 and Sony G 70-400 zoom

AubreyC

First test of the rental Sony G series 70-400mm zoom. Pictures of Jac ...

Updated: Jun 03, 2014 11:59am PST

Lake "G" Watercraft : Most photos and videos in this gallery were shot (hand-held) using a Sony Alpha NEX camera. All of the "mega-ZOOM shots" were taken (July 2013 & after) with my Canon PowerShot SX50 HS camera (hand-held, NO tripod).

Lake Goodwin (Lake "G") is a beautiful body of water covering 535 acres, with 5.4 miles of shoreline, located in Snohomish County, Washington. It is in the Seven Lakes area northwest of Seattle. Lake Goodwin is the largest and most popular lake of the Seven Lakes community. Rainbow Trout, Large/Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Bluegill, and Pumpkinseed Sunfish can be found in the lake. Ducks, Cormorants, Blue Heron, Lake Otters, Racoons, Rabbits, Deer, and other wildlife live around the lake. Seagulls, Bald Eagles, and other birds can be seen from time to time in the sky above. Except for "summer water sports" and the annual July 4th. boat parade/fireworks, Lake Goodwin is a quiet and peaceful place.

Lake "G" Watercraft

BIG-Dude-Productions

Most photos and videos in this gallery were shot (hand-held) using a S ...

Updated: May 03, 2014 6:04pm PST

Sony Alpha NEX-5N Camera Photos & Videos : I replaced my NEX-3 in February, 2012, with a new NEX-5N camera body. My Sony all-in-one E Mount 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 stabilized zoom lens that was formerly used on the NEX-3 is now on the NEX-5N. All photos and videos in this gallery have been taken using my Sony Alpha NEX-5N with the 18-200mm lens (except for those of the 5N). Unless otherwise noted, all photos/videos have been shot hand-held without using a tripod, flash, or any special lighting.

For PICS and information about the Sony NEX-3 camera that I previously owned, click on this link: http://big-dude-productions.smugmug.com/Photography/Sony-Alpha-NEX-3-Pictures/16138629_dLJDmP#!i=1229768948&k=MJdrn

Sony Alpha NEX-5N Camera Photos & Videos

BIG-Dude-Productions

I replaced my NEX-3 in February, 2012, with a new NEX-5N camera body. ...

Updated: Nov 17, 2013 9:20am PST