Birds in Flight

Photographing birds in flight is, for me at least, a tough learning experience. One of my favorite photographers is Moose Peterson, and I read his blog daily. About the time we were getting ready to take a week in Florida near Tampa/St. Petersburg, he had several tips posted pertaining to bird photography (he is a wonderful wildlife photographer and research person so what he says and writes means a lot). He offered one special tip involving “panning” the camera while taking a photo of a bird in flight. Easier than it sounds. Problem is to have the photo crisp and sharp. Shooting high speed frames with my Nikon D300 helped greatly, and usually one of nine or ten shots taken one after another would be relatively sharp. The other challenge is to have the photo composition correct, so you don’t wind up with just a portion of the bird in the frame. So, I’m still learning to get better, but at least I have the basics in mind. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f11, 1/500 sec)


When I saw this large Florida Cormorant swimming by the dock we were standing on near Tampa, with a relatively large catfish firmly grasped between its hooked beak, all I could think of was “gotcha”. Evil looking bird, eh? Shortly after he swam past, he flipped the fish up and swallowed it whole, but not without some difficulty. Ought to be his main meal for that day, at least! (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/80 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2)

Spring Butterfly

These guys have yet to arrive here in SW Virginia, but they were abundant in Southern Florida while we were there earlier this week. Frankly, the temperatures in Florida last week were cooler than they were in parts of Virginia (65 vs 70) but it seemed way warmer, especially when seeing scenes like this one. I developed this in Lightroom 3 Beta 2, which is definitely a lot better than Beta 1, and exceptionally better than the full version 2.6. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/320 sec)

Shore Bird Walker

I’m no bird species expert by a long shot, but I “think” this is a Shortbilled Dowitcher. I followed this little guy along the surf  at Anna Maria Island on the Gulf Coast. I really liked the contrast of the bird with the bright clear, almost sparkling water. The white sand only added to the vibrant scene. I’ve been more successful this past week photographing birds that I thought I might be. That was my main objective, so I’m pretty happy. We leave for home today, so we’ll soon be back to our normal routine. Part of that will include developing the best of my photos taken in South Florida—some to be posted here. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f11, 1/400s sec. Developed in Adobe Lightroom 2.6)

More Florida Birds

Looking at my prior post, this one was the shot I took just prior. The gull was at eye level, taking off, and I got this as one of several fast frames taken, with wings extended fully vertically. Also, note that the gull’s feet are still partially on the sand, in mid takeoff stride. More later. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f5.6, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6)

St Pete Beach Gull

Now At St Pete Beach just south of Tampa, Fl. First morning means out at sunrise with a mission to photograph birds in flight. This one is one of my best “first tries”. I was way low on the sand in front of this guy and got him just as he was taking off to fly directly over my head. Kinda neat shot, and I like it. More of my experiments later. Weather is nice and sunny today, mid 70’s. Way better than back home, and that’s why we came here in the first place! (Nikon D300 ISO 200, 200mm, f5.6, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6)

Totally in Charge

When I took this photo this past weekend on an old farm in the Blue Ridge Mountain region of Virginia, I was using my 50mm “prime” lens, which has no zoom function. Therefore, in order to get closer I had to actually move closer. That was a problem, because this guy was not going to allow that, and I was definitely not going to test his patience. So, I cropped it a bit in Lightroom and was impressed with just how sharp that 50mm lens is. The colors in this rooster were striking, and gave him a much more powerful look. Maybe that’s by choice, given all the hens that were surrounding him. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 50mm, f.7.1, 1/400sec)

Cat in a Bag

When returning from a trip away from home, I tossed my duffle bag in the family room, after unloading s few gifts I’d purchased. While looking at said gifts in the kitchen with my wife, our cat, Boots, climbed in the bag and quickly went to sleep. She and her sister, Lucy, love to get inside things like this, and it’s especially funny to watch them try to get into someone’s purse left laying on a table. By the way, as I type this, Boots is plopped down on my left arm (dozing away) preventing me from typing as good as I normally do. Cats are cool. (Panasonic Lumix LX3, developed in Lightroom 2.6)