Yesterday, Allen Dale and I headed out to South Padre Island with telephotos in hand with the hope of finding some migrant birds. For new birds, the morning was a total bomb, but the trip was not a loss. I had grabbed my backpack with landscape equipment (almost as an afterthought) when I left home. What a stroke of good fortune that was.
Just as we arrived at the island, a light rain began falling, then the sun popped through the clouds. As the mist moved out over the Laguna Madre, a fantastic double-rainbow appeared. I raced (at tortoise speed) to the car, grabbed my Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105 lens with polarizing filter. The rainbow lasted almost 30 minutes, which was enough time to capture the Convention Center and then the Laguna Madre marsh in the best light.
If you have ever photographed rainbows with a polarizing filter on the lens, you know it can make the color pop. The landscapes below were done while hand-holding the camera at ISO 200.
When the morning weather event ended, we wound up on the boardwalk with the bird photo equipment and captured some young least bitterns moving about the cattails.
* For best viewing, click in the upper right portion of a photo. It will enlarge and sharpen the shot.
I’m hoping to get a few ruby-throated hummingbird photos on our back porch today, but the migration is pretty slow…so far.
August is the month for migrating hummingbirds in west Texas’ Davis Mountains. The trouble is, one needs to photograph there for the entire month to pick up all the species possibilities. So, we probably missed some rare visitor or two from the west, but during the 4 workshop days calliope, black-chinned and rufous visited the set . Photographing in a private garden near Davis Mountains State Park, we had access to good bird numbers. Even a shy, gray fox made one or two appearances.
The weather was great, with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the upper 50s and occasional afternoon thundershowers. I believe it was the rain that brought in fresh birds almost everyday. The beautiful mountains, colorful garden and a fair number of birds made the week delightful.
The photographers used a 5 flash setup to capture wing-stopping images part of the time. Then everyone enjoyed trying to photograph hummers, without flash, at feeders, perches and flowers. Both methods had their rewards and challenges. Check out the images below and decide for yourself which you prefer.
Don’t forget to click in the upper right portion of a photo to make it larger and sharper, and to move on to the next photograph.
Shots like these (above and below) stop the action in 1/12,000 second.
The shot above was made in the garden at ISO 1600, 1/640 second, f 4 with natural, early morning light using a Canon 1D Mark IV and 500 mm IS lens.
These photos were taken from the front yard hummingbird/butterfly garden at our workshop location near Fort Davis.
While black-chinned hummingbirds were abundant during our workshop, only one full adult male rufous appeared during the 4 day event, however, several nice juvenile and female birds almost made up for the shortage of males.
I hope you enjoyed this little visit to the world of west Texas hummingbirds.