Category Archives: Newsletter

South Texas Summer Residents

I just wanted to post a few images I got last week on a resaca (oxbow) near Brownsville.  It seems there is always something good to photograph, even in the hottest part of the summer.  I was surprised that none of these birds showed serious signs of molting.

Remember, you can click on an image to enlarge and sharpen it.  Clicking on the right edge of a photo will show you how to advance to the next image.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck in flight
Black-bellied Whistling Duck in flight
Black-bellied Whistling Duck perched in tree
Black-bellied Whistling Duck perched in tree

Ducks like to perch and remain motionless for long periods but photographer patience will pay off.  The ducks have to stretch or fly every little while.

Green Kingfisher watching for avian predators.
Green Kingfisher watching for avian predators.

I waited two hours for a green kingfisher to fly on to this perch.  The nice head tilt came while she was looking upward for avian predators.

Pied-billed Grebe with minnow
Pied-billed Grebe with minnow
Pied-billed Grebe stretching
Pied-billed Grebe stretching

Grebes have to stretch, shake off excess water, and move around.  They don’t seem to have the patience for sitting and resting.  That great background color is sunset light bouncing off the resaca.

Stay cool,

Larry

Big Bend In Bloom

My annual Instructional Photo Tour to the Big Bend National Park during late March and early April this year was the best ever.  Because of exceptional rainfall winter rains, the park was abloom and flush with color.  Many who have visited or worked in the park agree that this spring bloom was a once-in-10-years event.

Take a look at the photos which follow and note the color explosion which we haven’t seen in past trips.   Don’t forget to click on the right edge of a photograph to increase the size and sharpness for better viewing.

Claret Cup Cactus above the Pecos River, Texas
Claret Cup Cactus above the Pecos River, Texas

The scene above greeted us as we prepared to cross the Pecos River at the upper end of Amistad Reservoir.  After stopping at the overlook for a leg stretch, I spotted red cactus blooms along the cliff below.  One hour later, after thoroughly photographing the landscape, we were back in the car and headed west.

Big Bend National Park in bloom; bluebonnets and prickly pear cactus
Big Bend National Park in bloom; bluebonnets and prickly pear cactus

I decided to add a touch of “canvas” to the background on this image.  The Photoshop filters offer some exciting options to get the most from a print.  This image was a little north of Castolon Store in Big Bend Natl. Park.

 

Prickly pear cactus in bloom with "mule ears" formation in the background at Big Bend National Park, Texas
Prickly pear cactus in bloom with “mule ears” formation in the background at Big Bend National Park, Texas

 

I think I was sitting in some dead dog cactus while shooting this photo at nearly ground level.  Sometimes I get caught up in the moment and forget to inspect the ground closely before getting in close to the subject.

Wildflowers on Dog Canyon Trail, Big Bend National Park, Texas
Wildflowers on Dog Canyon Trail, Big Bend National Park, Texas

It’s a 5 mile round trip from the highway to Dog Canyon in the northern part of the park.  The photography group loved the hike, the wildflowers and the cliffs.

Tourist watching the sun set through "the window" in the Chisos Mts. in Big Bend National Park
Tourist watching the sun set through “the window” in the Chisos Mts. in Big Bend National Park

The Chisos Basin “window” is always our first planned photo stop in the park.  When clouds are present, the window is always exceptional during sunset.

Big Bend Wildflowers_MG_6940Bluebonnets added a lot of nice color this view of ruins near Cottonwood Campground looking north to the Chisos Mountains.

Rio Grande near Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Rio Grande near Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend National Park, Texas

One of my favorite views of the Rio Grande as it turns toward the Boquillas rim at sunset.

Hot Springs by the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park, Texas
Stars and light painting on the hot springs bath house by the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park, Texas.
Big  Bend National Park at sunrise in Santa Elena Canyon.
Big Bend National Park at sunrise in Santa Elena Canyon.
Historic Terlingua Cemetery, Terlingua, Texas
Historic Terlingua Cemetery, Terlingua, Texas
Grave marker in the Terlingua Cemetery
Grave marker in the Terlingua Cemetery

 

One of the big favorites on every Big Bend photo trip is trying to capture a "starburst" at sunrise or sunset.
One of the big favorites on every Big Bend photo trip is trying to capture a “starburst” at sunrise or sunset.
Wildflowers and Chisos Mountains at Big Bend National Park.
Wildflowers and Chisos Mountains at Big Bend National Park.

We just had to stop for one (or was it 50) more wildflower photo  before exiting the park after 4 fantastic days.  The sun was just coming up as we unlimbered the tripods near Panther Junction and the Chisos Mountains.

Larry

Block Creek Bonanza

Finally, I got time to sit down and look through this season’s images from the Block Creek Natural Area during late April.  They had a lot of rain this year, so the timing of bird nesting and things like that were a little off.  Nevertheless, we had a great week with two groups of photographers, back to back.  I’ve got a bunch of images to show you a sample of what the group got, so let’s get to it.

Don’t forget, clicking on an image will give you the enlarged and sharpened view.

Red barn at Block Creek Bed and Breakfast
Red barn at Block Creek Bed and Breakfast

The first things I noticed when I arrived the day before our photographers was that the barn had been painted and the entrance road had a new surface.  The big oaks in the back yard provided the perfect frame for the barn.

Orange clouds at sunset with windmill and freshly surfaced road to the house.
Orange clouds at sunset with windmill and freshly surfaced road to the house.
Block Creek Natural Area green house.
Block Creek Natural Area green house.

Larry and Sharron Jay had lots of fresh flowers in the greenhouse and throughout the grounds.

Parking and flowers at Block Creek B&B
Parking and flowers at Block Creek B&B
Eastern Screech Owl; both color morphs.
Eastern Screech Owl; both color morphs.

The Last Chance Forever folks brought a variety of owls and hawks to the Block Creek Natural Area to educate our photographers and to use as subjects for a morning photography session.

Great Horned Owl eyes
Great Horned Owl eyes
serious face of the red-tailed hawk
serious face of the red-tailed hawk
Harris's Hawk in flight
Harris’s Hawk in flight

 

 

Luckenbach Store jazzed up with a little HDR toning.  I like it!
Luckenbach Store jazzed up with a little HDR toning. I like it!

I was experimenting with the HDR Toning component of Photoshop and discovered that it can help make some photos much more fun to see than when they are processed “normally”.  The rooster below was one of the most colorful birds I’d ever seen so I couldn’t help but boost the colors into another level.

Rooster on stage at Luckenbach, Texas post office and store
Rooster on stage at Luckenbach, Texas post office and store

 

Tiger Swallowtail on thistle bloom
Tiger Swallowtail on thistle bloom
Black Swallowtai femalel on thistle bloom.
Black Swallowtail female on thistle bloom.
Wild turkey gobbler strutting in front of our small bird photography blind.
Wild turkey gobbler strutting in front of our small bird photography blind.
wild turkey gobbler enjoying the seeds and insects available in a Block Creek Natural Area meadow.
wild turkey gobbler enjoying the seeds and insects available in a Block Creek Natural Area meadow.
Ladder-backed Woodpecker hammering on oak limb
Ladder-backed Woodpecker hammering on oak limb

This woodpecker was hanging upside down while working on this dead oak branch.  I thought the shot would make more sense if rotated to a vertical pose.

male Eastern Bluebird perched on lichen-covered branch.
male Eastern Bluebird perched on lichen-covered branch.

Almost everyone in our group got shots of this beautiful male eastern bluebird.

male Painted Bunting on weed
male Painted Bunting on weed
male black-chinned hummingbird feeding at yucca flowers.
male black-chinned hummingbird feeding at yucca flowers.

So, we saw a lot and photographed most of it.  I did leave out some historic buildings we worked with just down the highway from Block Creek NA.  The area has a lot to offer outdoor photographers.

Larry

Wet Week at Transition Ranch

A few months back, some of you may recall that I was chattering more than usual about the photography opportunities at Transition Ranch near Uvalde, Texas.  During the dry spring of 2014, I helped the owners select photo blind locations and I showed them where to find golden-cheeked warblers and black-capped vireos.  After a few days at the ranch, I was really excited about the possibilities.  Then, when April arrived this year, the ranch was drenched with record amounts of rainfall.

Here are a few of the images I captured at Transition Ranch while guiding two groups of photographers at mid-month.   For best viewing, click on an image to enlarge and sharpen it.  Click on the right center of each image to advance through the images.

House Finch_79A6750

House Finches were abundant in spite of heavy rains.

House Finches provided lots of action when shooting was slow with other birds.
House Finches provided lots of action when shooting was slow with other birds.

 

Male Hooded Oriole calling from a Texas persimmon tree.
Male Hooded Oriole calling from a Texas persimmon tree.

 

A shy orchard oriole at the morning blind.
A shy orchard oriole at the morning blind.

 

White-winged doves have established some large nesting colonies on the Transition Ranch.
White-winged doves have established some large nesting colonies on the Transition Ranch.

 

Lark sparrows were actively courting during mid-April.
Lark sparrow in courtship display  with feathers fluffed and tail spread.

 

Flushing Yellow-headed Blackbird photographed at 1/30 second during an afternoon rain.
Flushing Yellow-headed Blackbird photographed at 1/30 second during an afternoon rain.

Frequent rains through the winter and spring made it impossible to complete photo blinds for golden-cheeked warblers and black-capped vireos.  Although shy, they should come to water in this dry country during a normal spring and summer.

By next spring, the ranch owner anticipates having additional blinds in place where golden-cheeked warblers and black-capped vireos may come to drink.
Male golden-cheeked warbler singing from atop a hill country juniper.

 

Transition Ranch has a sizable population of breeding black-capped vireos.  The species is among Texas' most beautiful spring/summer residents.
Transition Ranch has a sizable population of breeding black-capped vireos. The species is among Texas’ most beautiful spring/summer residents.

 

Blue Grosbeaks were just arriving as our time at Transition Ranch ended.
Blue Grosbeaks were just arriving as our time at Transition Ranch ended.

With abundant moisture, came abundant wildflowers and blooming prickly pear cactus.

The hills were covered in prickly pear cactus abloom with yellow and peach colored flowers.
The hills were covered in prickly pear cactus abloom with yellow and peach colored flowers.

 

Birds like Nashville Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and Painted Buntings arrived late because of the cool weather and constant rain.
Birds like Nashville Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and Painted Buntings arrived late because of the cool weather and constant rain.

Some of our photographers got excellent photos of painted buntings and Montezuma quail.  I can’t wait for next year…may it be just a little drier.

*** I’ve got a Canon 7D camera with battery grip and a 100-400 mm Canon IS lens (not the new model) for sale.  Both are in great shape.  If you are interested, let me know and/or make me an offer.  I’ve still got the boxes, papers, straps, etc. for them.

Larry

Perfect Winter Morning

I photographed this feeding American Oystercatcher and landing willet last winter in the Laguna Madre shortly after sunrise.  Of course,  water dripping from the bill or having the wings spread is really cool, but it’s the reflection that makes the image.

Click on the image to enlarge and sharpen for viewing.

American Oystercatcher feeding in the Laguna Madre at sunrise

Canon 7D camera and 500 mm IS lens, ISO 400, 1/1600 second @ f 4  from the World Birding Center board walk on South Padre Island.

Willet landing in the Laguna Madre
Willet landing in the Laguna Madre

Canon 7D camera and 500 mm IS Canon lens, Feisol cf tripod with Wimberly Head, ISO 400, 1/4000 second @ f 5.6

I am working my way through thousands of images collected through the winter and spring.  Keep watching for fresh newsletters with photos from Big Bend National Park, Block Creek Ranch, Transition Ranch and more.

Larry

 

Photos from FeatherFest, 2015

I hope most of you take the Texas travel and outdoor magazines, “Texas Highways” and “Texas Parks & Wildlife”.  If so, you may have seen several of my photos in May and June.  It’s always a big thrill to be published, especially in magazines that do such outstanding work.  Look for the cover on the June issue of …Highways and several inside shots as well (the May issue has several, too).  The May issue of Parks & Wildlife included several bird photos for a story on the “The 12 Most Beautiful Birds in Texas”.

The following images come from some photography outings I led this past April in the Rockport and Galveston area for FeatherFest.com.  Many birders and photographers gather in Galveston each spring for the festival and what better place than Galveston to do it?

If you click on the photos, they will enlarge and sharpen for your viewing.  Advance through the slide show by clicking on the right edge of any image.

Brown Pelican nesting on a grassy island near Galveston, Texas.
Brown Pelican nesting on a grassy island near Galveston, Texas.

This was a rainy day shot, so I was most happy to have a new Canon 7D Mark II in hand.  I had to crank it up to ISO 1600 for this capture at 1/2000 sec @ f4 from a tripod.

Brown Pelicans nesting on an island in Galveston Bay, Texas.
Brown Pelicans nesting on an island in Galveston Bay, Texas.

The pelican shots were made from a boat.  I was leading a group of 5 happy photographers who went home with thousands of nice shots of one of Texas’ most interesting birds.

Great blue heron and great egret displaying at a nesting colony on the Texas coast
Great blue heron and great egret displaying at a nesting colony on the Texas coast

This photo and the following bird photos were shot from a boat as we spent two days on the water with Captain Kevin Sims in a Pre-FeatherFest photo shoot.

Great Blue Heron pair breeding at nest colony on Texas coast
Great Blue Heron pair breeding at nest colony on Texas coast
Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets nesting in thorny brush on the Texas gulf coast.
Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets nesting in thorny brush on the Texas gulf coast.
Great Egret displaying showy plume feathers.
Great Egret displaying showy plume feathers.
Reddish Egret landing at nest with great egret in background
Reddish Egret landing at nest with great egret in background

Most of the colonial nesters need structure (brush, sunflowers, etc.) to support their above-ground nests.

One afternoon following our boat trip, we found an old Rockport cemetery full of fancy  spring wildflowers.

Asters and coreopsis in bloom, Rockport, Texas
Asters and coreopsis in bloom, Rockport, Texas

The flower shot was done with a Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105 mm lens from ground level, hand held, 1/30 second @ f16, ISO 400.  By getting on the ground for this shot, I was able to get below a strong wind and capture a perspective most photographers pass by.

Larry

Recent Visit to Santa Clara Photography Ranch

A few days ago, I spent a Saturday afternoon at the Santa Clara Photography Ranch with owner, Dr. Alberto Gutierrez, and friends Randall Ennis and Terry Guthrie.  Photography was a little slow that afternoon, so I came back for a couple of hours on Monday morning.  Each trip yielded some keeper images; I’m sharing 4 of them with you in this newsletter.  Later that week, I guided photographer Gary Kramer on the Ramirez Ranch at Roma, Texas where we wanted to get plain chachalacas and other birds.

I’m still trying to catch up with editing several thousand photos from Galveston Feather Fest, Block Creek Natural Area, Transition Photography Ranch, South Padre Island, Rockport spring nesting birds, an Arizona bird photography workshop and shots from the Laguna Seca Photography Ranch.  I’ll be posting images from those shoots in coming editions of this newsletter.

Please send along your comments and ideas if you wish.  If you will click on the image, it will enlarge and sharpen.  Advance through the slide show by clicking on the right edge of each image.

Green Jays on mesquite stump in wildflowers
Green Jays on mesquite stump in wildflowers

These green jays were captured on a stormy morning at the Roel Ramirez Ranch near Roma, Texas with the Canon 7d Mark II and 500 mm IS lens at ISO 800, 1/200 second @ f4 in aperture priority.  Within minutes of this capture, my shutter speed declined to 1/15 second as a rapidly approaching thunderstorm forced  us to abandon the ranch for photo blind.

Painted Bunting_79A8935

This painted bunting was taken with the Canon 7D Mark II camera and 500 mm IS lens from the car window just after sunrise.  ISO 800, 1/2000 second @ f 5.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in flight, Santa Clara Ranch
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, male, diving to scoop water from the photo blind pond while on the wing.

I got this shot by anticipating the flight path of the flycatcher and pre-focusing to get the bird just as it flew from its perch to the water.  Quick reflexes and the ability to read the bird’s body language helped me get this photo with the Canon 7d Mark II and Canon 70-200 mm lens with 1.4X teleconverter at ISO 400, 1/3200 second @ f 5 (hand held).  I try to keep a camera and zoom lens handy in case something large or very close appears that precludes using the 500 mm lens.

White-fronted Dove in a courtship posture that didn't seem to impress a female dove in front of our blind.
White-fronted Dove in a courtship posture that didn’t seem to impress a female dove in front of our blind.

As the sun was setting, I captured this image with the Canon 7D Mark II and 500 mm lens from a Wimberley head and Feisol tripod at ground level at ISO 500, 1/1000 second @ f5.

I’m always looking for behavior and/or action to make the image more interesting.  Warm evening or morning light helps a bunch, too.

Keep watching for more Spring images soon.

Larry

Recent Photos from south Texas

I’ve been photographing around the Starr and Hidalgo County area of south Texas this past week or so.  Cloudy weather dominated most of the winter so it felt good to feel some rays.

I can put you onto some lightly used  photo equipment at really good prices.  Yours truly has a Canon IS 100-400 mm, slide focus lens that is in great shape and very sharp.   Make me an offer.   A Colorado friend, Joe Zinn, has a Canon 1DX camera with low frame count and an excellent 600 mm lens (not the new model) for $6,000.  These will be sold together.  If you are interested, let me know and I’ll discuss these with you and/or put you in touch with Joe.

Here are some recent photos.  Click on an image to see a larger and sharper version.  Click on the right edge of a photo to advance.

Burrowing owl ready to begin a night of hunting.
Burrowing owl ready to begin a night of hunting.

I put my favorite photo first.  It took two hours of patient waiting for this light and pose.

Barely able to keep his eyes open.
Barely able to keep his eyes open.

This is a second burrowing owl sleeping on a rocky slope.  I photographed him for almost two hours while lying on my side with the camera  and 500 mm lens on a bean bag.

Green Jay landing
Green Jay landing

I used a Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200 lens and 1.4 x teleconverter to get this photo at 1/3200 second, f4.

Northern Mockingbird with anaqua fruit.
Northern Mockingbird with anaqua fruit.

By placing native fruit  or bird seed near a perch, you can capture very natural looking images.  Also, note the clean backgrounds form most of the shots in this newsletter…they are no accident.

Audubon's Oriole on perch.
Audubon’s Oriole on perch.
Black-crested Titmouse perched in blooming huisachillo bush.
Black-crested Titmouse perched in blooming huisachillo bush.

Some native brush is starting to bloom, so I took advantage by using cuttings for bird perches.

Male Northern Cardinal perched in a thorny huisachillo.
Male Northern Cardinal perched in a thorny huisachillo.
Northern Cardinal male landing on a soft perch.
Northern Cardinal male landing on a soft perch.

Anticipation and pre-focus!  I captured some of these images at Laguna Seca Photo Ranch north of Edinburg. (www.lagunasecaranch.com)

Pair of Northern Bobwhites sharing a perch.
Pair of Northern Bobwhites sharing a perch.

At sunset three days ago, this little nine-banded armadillo came walking boldly to the photo blind water hole at Santa Clara Photo Ranch northwest of McAllen.  (www.santaclararanch.com)

Nine-banded Armadillo drinking.
Nine-banded Armadillo drinking.

Soon, you will see more photos from this area.

Larry

Oklahoma in November

Oklahoma in November is normally an incredible place for wildlife and landscapes.  Anticipating that, I put together a little photo tour this past autumn and four of us headed for the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge at Lawton.  We were shocked on the morning of the first day when we awoke to high wind and plunging temperatures.  In spite of the unusual weather, we tried to anticipate what the animals would be doing.  It turns out they did just what we wanted to do…find a place behind the hills and in the canyons to soak up some sunshine and keep out of the wind.

So we dressed for the cold and headed for the hills.  The group got some amazing shots and I can only imagine how well they would have done without the wind and cold.  Here are a few of my images to show you what is possible in southern Oklahoma in November.

You can click on an image to increase its size and sharpness.  By clicking on the right edge of a photo, you can advance through the slide show.  Enjoy.

The remains of a stone house in the Wichta Mountains of Oklahoma.
The remains of a stone house in the Wichta Mountains of Oklahoma.
Some of the Texas longhorn cattle that roam the refuge grasslands and hills.
Some of the Texas longhorn cattle that roam the refuge grasslands and hills.
Wide, gracefully curved horns make these cattle a photogenic icon of the western U.S.
Wide, gracefully curved horns make these cattle a photogenic icon of the western U.S.
Big whitetail bucks were in the peak of rut when we arrived in Oklahoma.
Big whitetail bucks were in the peak of rut when we arrived in Oklahoma.
Lots of wild turkey were within photo range as they searched the oak thickets and grasslands for acorns, seeds and insects.
Lots of wild turkey were within photo range as they searched the oak thickets and grasslands for acorns, seeds and insects.

This wild turkey gobbler was part of a flock we photographed from the car.  I highly recommend a high quality bean bag for a Wichitas trip.

 

Photographing a black-tailed prairie dog as it "barks" is a challenge and one of my favorite things to do at the Wichitas.
Photographing a black-tailed prairie dog as it “barks” is a challenge and one of my favorite things to do at the Wichitas.

After an hour of patient sitting in a low spot near this burrow, I was rewarded with several interesting photos of these prairie dogs.   This shot was done with the Canon 7D, 500 mm lens, 1.4X teleconverter, and Gitzo tripod with Wimberley head.  I was wearing camouflage to help me blend into the landscape.

Ancient bull American bison feeding on the south side of a hill just after sunrise.
Ancient bull American bison feeding on the south side of a hill just after sunrise.

A new 70-200 mm lens was mighty handy for big game photography on this trip.

A view from Mt. Scott westward across the granite Wichita Mountains.
A view from Mt. Scott westward across the granite Wichita Mountains.
Sunlight on the Wichita Mountains on a stormy autumn morning.
Sunlight on the Wichita Mountains on a stormy autumn morning.

Elk are plentiful at the refuge, but always hard to photograph from a car.  In fact, the refuge flourishes with wildlife including many great bird species and landscape opportunities.  Its oak covered hills and extensive grasslands can hold a photographer’s interest for many days both in autumn and spring.

I hope you can join me next year.

Larry

More Than Just a Whooping Crane Photo Tour

Two weeks ago, I was in Rockport leading a “whooping crane” photography tour that turned out to be much more than that.  After starting the week with a lot of cold and drizzle, our last day and a half were fair days with a lot of photography ops. The group was composed of seasoned veteran photographers and a beginner, but everyone got a pleasing number of wildlife and landscape subjects during the week. Here are some of the subjects I captured with the camera while working with the other photographers.  Notice that I didn’t have a lot of room left to show the whooping crane images after including some of my other subjects.  I was particularly taken with the green-winged teal that allowed us to photograph them while they bathed and rested.

Just click on an image to enlarge and sharpen it.  Clicking on the right edge on any shot will advance you through the photos.

Pair of adult whooping cranes walking across a meadow.
Pair of adult whooping cranes walking across a meadow.

These cranes were photographed from a ground blind near Goose Island State Park.  I was pleased with the similar pose between the birds.  Since I wasn’t using a “high end” camera, I didn’t dare push the ISO enough to get sufficient depth of field get both birds in sharp focus.

Whooping crane disturbing a pair as it lands between them.
Whooping crane disturbing a pair as it lands between them.

 

Sandhill Cranes landing in liveoak-coastal grass savannah.
Sandhill Cranes landing in liveoak-coastal grass savannah.

The bird in the image below had a deformed beak but it managed just fine at feeding time.  I’ve seen several at Bosque del Apache Refuge in New Mexico with an upper mandible curving down over the lower mandible like a crossbill.

Note this crane's deformed beak.
Note this crane’s deformed beak.
American Avocets heading to a marsh at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
American Avocets heading to a marsh at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

With birds in flight, I try to maintain at least 1/2000 second shutter speed to insure the photo “freezes” the birds.

Caspian Terns reflected on a calm bay as they fly close to the water's surface.
Caspian Terns reflected on a calm bay as they fly close to the water’s surface.
Pair of American White Pelicans resting on an oyster bar in Aransas Bay.
American White Pelicans resting on an oyster bar in Aransas Bay.
American Oystercatcher circling the boat.
American Oystercatcher circling the boat.
Long-billed curlew standing on a rock jetty that protects a boat channel near the intracoastal waterway.
Long-billed curlew standing on a rock jetty that protects a boat channel near the intracoastal waterway.

We often see a good variety of photo subjects during the return trip from a whooping crane outing.  Although the light is sometimes a little harsh, who can resist a long-billed curlew profile.

Osprey carrying the last morsel of it fish lunch.
Osprey carrying the last morsel of its fish lunch.

A bird in flight under white skies often needs to be overexposed by 2-3 stops to get the bird’s undersides and darker areas at proper exposure.

Pleasure boats moored in Fulton Harbor on calm waters.
Pleasure boats moored in Fulton Harbor.

I decided to try the image above as a black and white and was quite pleased.  Seeing the calm waters as we left a nearby restaurant, two of the group’s photographers convinced me we should return for some night shooting.  This photo was captured at 10:30 PM.

Drake blue-winged teal at takeoff in Port Aransas.
Drake blue-winged teal at takeoff in Port Aransas.

By watching the nervous head bobbing and erect posture of a wild duck, it can be easy to anticipate “launch”.  I have to remember to pull back on the telephoto power to leave room for the rising bird and outstretched wings.

Common Yellowthroat feeding among the cattails.
Common Yellowthroat feeding among the cattails.
American Coots fighting
American Coots fighting
Green-winged Teal drake takeoff.
Green-winged Teal drake takeoff.
Green-winged Teal drake drinking.
Green-winged Teal drake drinking.
Green-winged Teal bathing.
Green-winged Teal bathing.
American Bittern blending in at the edge of a wooded marsh.
American Bittern trying to be inconspicuous at the edge of a wetland.

One of our photographers photographed this bittern while it was catching anoles on tree trunks at the edge of a marsh.

It was a great week in Rockport and Port Aransas.

Larry