On Wednesday, I captured several images of roseate spoonbills resting and preening by the boardwalk at South Padre Island. During that last hour of sunlight, the birds were reluctant to move, so I was able to work (if you can call it work) without moving. What a perfect way to end the day!
Note how details of the birds tend to blend into the busy, cattail background. While the location offers a good view of spoonbill habitat, I think a clean, water background would have improved these shots. This is by no means a complaint; I was blessed to be there.
Take a look at a few of the photos:
Click on an image to enlarge and sharpen it.
Several white ibis, black-necked stilts and heron mixed with the spoonbills occasionally, so I had to photograph them. The reflections of all the birds really helped these images.
The raised foot gives this shot a sense of action that would have been missing in a typical “standing bird” pose.
By the time this “sweet light” came, the hundreds of talking, boardwalk vibrating tourists had gone to dinner, leaving three photographers and the birds to finish a beautiful day.
Three days in Rockport/Fulton, Texas last week was time well spent as five people joined me to photograph whooping cranes and several other species, mostly from Kevin Sims’s boat the Jumping Jack Flash. Sunny skies and warm temperatures kept everybody comfortable, but the weather was a little too bright for ideal photo conditions. Nevertheless, the group had great success, so who am I to complain.
Here are a few of my images from the trip. Don’t forget to click on a photo to enlarge and sharpen it for viewing.
Sometimes you just can’t get the bird wings in sync.
Always be aware that good things can happen when you photograph wildlife while shooting into the sun.
This very cooperative young peregrine falcon held his position while everyone captured many frames of this once-in-a-lifetime pose as we boated along in choppy waves on the last morning of our shoot.
Each afternoon, we worked away from the boat to photograph wildlife at some of the many nice parks and habitats in the Rockport area.
Lots of ducks and wading birds winter in the Rockport area.
It had been awhile since I’d seen a male ruddy duck going into breeding plumage.
I had a little too much lens power for this shot, but I wasn’t expecting a pelican to go after a cormorant. Actually, the cormorant surfaced near the pelican and was carrying a fish in its bill. The pelican was trying to take it but there was no time to downsize lenses even though I had the 100-400 mm around my neck.
Instead of making this image from the tripod, I laid down on the boardwalk to improve the perspective between me and the bird. The lower angle worked much better.
No whooping crane trip is complete until we’ve photographed around the harbors at sunset. We got the boats coming into harbor, unloading and docking for the night.
This was a tricky shot in soft light after sunset with a one foot chop on the water. To smooth the water surface, I selected a long exposure to blur the waves into a smooth, pleasing foreground surface. It wouldn’t have worked if the boats had been rocking on the waves. All but one were securely moored.
Tuesday morning was a dream photo shoot for me at Santa Clara Photo Ranch west of Edinburg. It was one of the few times I’ve photographed alone this year and the absence of human sounds was deafening. It was obvious the critters appreciated the quiet time; birds were everywhere.
The big EVENT of the morning began with a scream, then screams and more screams…the kind cats make when mating. Around 8:00 AM, the chilling vocalizations started just 20 yards from my blind. Knowing what it was, I quickly prepared the Canon 7d II and NEW 100-400 mm lens for action. The first cat to appear was a large female that came within 20 feet of the blind before crouching for a long drink.
The cat was great; the new lens was great; the light overcast sky was great! She paid no attention to the zip, zip, zip of the camera. When she finally strolled away, a second kitty came in. It was one of the prettiest bobcats I’ve even seen. In the space of 5 minutes, both cats came and went. It was a “hum-drum” morning after that. Yep, there wasn’t much to do but photograph birds, green birds, red birds, orange birds, yellow birds, etc. , but somehow I muddled through.
Here are a few images from my big day at Santa Clara Photo Ranch: Remember to click on an image to enlarge and sharpen it.
This oriole was missing a toe on its right foot.
This is “the year of the northern cardinal in south Texas”. Significant numbers have moved into McAllen for the winter and that’s a rarity.
The nature photography life is a sweet one on days like this.