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Recent Galleries

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: Jul 08, 2013 1:38pm PST

Smith Oaks Rookery - New Eyes/New Tools 062313 : Comparing post processing methods of the three years ago to today.

Taken on March 27, 2010 using the Sony A900 and the Tamron Di 200-500/4.5-6.3 @ 500/6.3
The first was post-processed using the Sony raw conversion software and Corel Paintshop Photo Pro 2X on March 27, 2010 and the last three were post-processed June 23, 2013 using software that includes Topaz plugins Clarity and Detail3.
Another difference was that I changed the color space in my DS5 Photoshop to ProPhoto RGB.  I have use that color space in Adobe Camera Raw for several years.

Smith Oaks Rookery - New Eyes/New Too...

AubreyC

Comparing post processing methods of the three years ago to today. ...

Updated: Jul 07, 2013 4:58pm PST

Venice : Images from Venice, Italy

Venice

MillerFallsPhotography

Images from Venice, Italy

Updated: Jul 05, 2013 11:03am 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: Jul 03, 2013 1:37am 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: Jul 02, 2013 10:28pm PST

High Island Rookery plus Anahuac NWR on 052610 : I went to High Island Rookery with Jay Mangum on 052610.  Our original intent was to try to photograph some Roseate Spoonbill chicks under favorable conditions.  To our surprise, the ones we had seen on May 1st were gone and no other Roseate nests were accessible for observation.  Had a good day though, photographing two new species for me, and we ended the day at Anahuac NWR posted to another gallery.  The new species were a Wood Stork at the rookery and a Fulvous Whistling Duck at Anahuac.

The rookery at High Island managed by the Houston Audubon Society is one of those rare resources that must be treasured.  For most, those resources have not been experienced, and for most that have, it is hard to go back and review the things one saw.  Mental notes fade with time, and written notes cannot show the behaviors of the birds well enough for those that have not spent many, many hours in observation.  As a photographer of bird behaviors, I am posting these to share with my friends and all interested in the unique behaviors of these wondrous creatures.

High Island Rookery plus Anahuac NWR ...

AubreyC

I went to High Island Rookery with Jay Mangum on 052610. Our original ...

Updated: Jul 02, 2013 10:10am PST

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Chicks Fledged 062213 : It had been about five days since I had gone out in the morning to observe the two Yellow Crowned Night Heron chicks now fledged.  Just a little remaining chick fuzz and feathers remain; they have feathers sufficient for flight.  I was caught completely unawares this morning.  I was set up for single tripod shots, and all of the sudden, the alpha fledgling took off and flew to the neighbor's oak tree to my right, to the right of the nesting tree.  I then ditched my tripod and stood there waiting for him to fly back to the nesting tree.  My arms were about to fall off standing there with the camera set for flight shots and pre-focused.   Well, this time I was reward for my patience, and even thought the return from his first flight or at least the first flight about which I know, it has been recorded.  Can't be much longer till these guys are out of here.  I saw one adult fly into a very large oak in the backyard of the neighbor to the right, but it did not come to the nest.  At this time of development, it is normal for the adults to stop coming as frequently to the nest, and coax the fledglings to fly from the nest.  I watched the Bald Eagles in Baytown exhibit the same behavior.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Chicks Fle...

AubreyC

It had been about five days since I had gone out in the morning to obs ...

Updated: Jun 25, 2013 11:47am PST

My Backyard Birds of May 2013 : Since IKE and the drought Yellow-crown Night Heron have moved into our neighborhood, Mount Vernon in Pasadena, TX.  Now after a number of years of nesting their numbers are growing.  This year a pair built a nest in the top of an oak tree across the street from our house.  I have enjoyed sitting under the shade of our oak on the side of our house watching the herons in the morning.  That is when the light is best and illuminates the nest area.  After about 10:00 AM the nest area is largely in shadow and in the afternoon it is backlit.  For the longest time I suspected the young had hatched given the behavior of the adults.  This past week we saw little tufts of feathers that would stick above the rim of the nest and almost immediately disappear again below the rim.  As of the last couple of days,  the young birds have begun to stand up in the nest and can be seen.  There are now for the first time periods when both adults are gone from the nest at the same time.  I suppose since the adults feed mainly on crawfish and crabs and given the size of the young, it must take both adults working to get enough to feed their off-spring.

My Backyard Birds of May 2013

AubreyC

Since IKE and the drought Yellow-crown Night Heron have moved into our ...

Updated: Jun 25, 2013 10:50am PST

Galveston on 053013 : Accompanied by fellow bird photographers Jay Mangum and Scott Meyer, we went in search of Reddish Egrets along Sportsman Rd. and San Luis Pass on the west end of Galveston Island.  Of course our filter wasn't extremely tight, because as always we were operating on the principles of cull not want not which is in opposition of course to "the main thang is keeping the main thang the main thang."  The Reddish Egret is scarce among the wading bird population of the United States, even more so the 'white morph' of this species. Yesterday we hit the big bonanza, the jackpot if you will.  Not only did we enjoy Reddish Egrets, we were able to see them 'shadow dancing' and we additionally photographed the white morph, thanks to the eagle of the one of the younger chaps among the group, Scott Meyer. 

It is very rare to see a Reddish Egret and be treated to its shadow dance.  To a certain extent, all herons and egrets do a little water ballet when trying to catch a fish; however, if their dance was likened to a tango, the Reddish Egret does the Argentine tango.
 A good time had by all.

Galveston on 053013

AubreyC

Accompanied by fellow bird photographers Jay Mangum and Scott Meyer, w ...

Updated: Jun 02, 2013 12:06pm PST