Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book Review

   I recently purchased the book 100 Ways to Take Better Nature & Wildlife Photographs, by Guy Edwardes.  The book is illustrated with extraordinary photos and filled with excellent tips for beginner and experienced wildlife and nature photographers.  The book covers topics such as: Technical information, fieldcraft, composition, lighting, as well as close-up, birds, animals, flower photography and more.  The book is well written and would make a fine addition to your library.   For more information on, and how to order go to:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Pic of the Day

Snow Geese, Chen carerulescens
 Grand Departure at Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico

     Bosque del Apache is located 18 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico and is the wintering ground for more than 35,000 Snow Geese and 10,000 Sandhill Cranes. The Grand Departure is a must see event if you visit Bosque. Before sunrise huge flocks of Snow Geese fly to nearby grain fields to feed. Low light requires long exposures, thus the blurred motion of the mass of geese as they rise off the impoundments on which they have spent the night. This impressionistic image is among my favorite bird photographs I have taken.

Nikon F5, Nikkor 24-50 zoom

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pic of the Day

Moon from Horse Cove; Gurley, Alabama
     I shot this image last night (1/27/2015) at 5:45 pm.  The clear sky and lack of turbulence in the atmosphere helped to make a sharp image, revealing the detail of the lunar surface.  I particularly love the detail along the terminus of the moons southern hemisphere.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4 with 1.4 teleconverter (effective 700mm f5.6).  1/2000 second @ f7.1, ISO1600

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pic of the Day

Pileated Woodpecker: Horse Cove; Gurley, Alabama 
      A few years ago during the  month of March I was driving-up my driveway and notice a hole in a dead loblolly pine that I had never noticrd before. My first thought, ”a freshly dug pileated woodpecker nest”! As soon as I got in the house I grabbed a video camera and headed for the possible nest. I attached the camera to a nearby tree and pointed it toward the hole and turned the camera on. I left the video running until after sundown, about an hour and half, and then retrieved the camera and tape.
     As I reviewed the tape I was hoping to see a pileated woodpecker fly into, or leave the opening. As the tape played, what I hoped I would see, occurred. Just as the sunset, a Pileated Woodpecker flew to the cavity, perched at the opening for less than a minute and went into the cavity.
     I could not have been more fortunate! The nest tree grew out of a creek bed at the bottom of a steep slop, allowing me to put a blind close to the nest at almost eye level. Both adults incubated eggs for the first 3 weeks in April. After the eggs hatched a flurry of active began at the nest. I spent many hot, miserable days in a blind from the end of April through May having an incredibly wonderful time photographing these birds.
Nikon D200, Nikkor 500mm f/4 with 1.4 teleconverter, 1/125 second @ f9

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pic of the Day

Sunset with jet contrail casting shadow on clouds:
Blind Pass; Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/6400 second @ f

Video of the Day

Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens at my 
woodpecker feeder in Horese Cove; Gurley, Alabama

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pic of the Day

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus:
Horse Cove; Gurley, Alabama

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/800 second @ f8

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon:  Tamiami Trail, Florida

This image is from a series of shots I took along the Tamiami Trail on December 29 of last year (see post for January 3, 2015).  The original is in color, but I do love this black and white rendition.  Click the links below to see color images of this beautiful bird.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/500 second @ f5.6

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pic of the Day

Tufted Puffin, Fratercula cirrhata; Saint Paul Island, Pribilof, Alaska
     Discovered in 1788 by Russian navigator, Gavrill Pribilof.  The “Pribilof Islands”, Saint Paul and Saint George lay 770 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska. 
Roger Tory Peterson once called them the Galapagos of the North, for they harbor almost half a million fur seals and millions of sea birds.  I have traveled to the Pribilofs five times and spent a total of 50 days on Saint Paul Island.  It is an incredible place with wonderful photo opportunities.  Weather on the islands is unpredictable.  I have witnessed heavy overcast, dense fog, 40 mile and hour wind, rain falling horizontally, and sunshine all in the same day.  Rain gear is essential for both the photographer and camera equipment. 

This Tufted Puffin was photographed perched on a rocky projection at Reef Point on the south side of the island.  The Tufted Puffins is one of two species of puffins found in the Bering Sea and the only puffin with blonde tuffs of feathers above the eye.  Like the Atlantic Puffin the colorful beak is ornamental and looses it bright color after the breeding season.

Nikon F5, Nikkor 500 f4, Provia 100

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pic of the Day

European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris:  Viera Wetlands, Vera Florida

     The European Starling, as the name suggest, is not an endemic bird to North America.  Its native range is throughout Europe and western Asia.  This starling was introduced to North America in the 1800’s.  It has also been introduced in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  The Starling has been declining in parts of northern and western Europe since the 1980’s due to loss of grassland invertebrates which are a valuable food for chicks.

     Here in the state we often think of the European Starling being a “trash” bird, as they displace native cavity nesting birds during the breeding season.  However, the European Starling is a quite attractive bird with its iridescent purple crown and nape, green breast and spotted back and underside.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1000 second @ f7.1

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pic of the Day

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias:  Viera Wetlands; Viera, Florida
     The Great Blue Heron is a common and wide spread heron across the North America.  I photographed this bird at the Viera Wetlands as it stalked it prey in one of the wetlands many water impoundments.  Here the bird leans and stretches as it searches for fish and amphibians in the deep water.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1000 second @ f7.1

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pic of the Day

American White Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis:  Viera Wetlands; Viera, Florida
     One of the largest birds in the Americas, the American White Pelican has a wingspan of 9 feet.  One of the largest birds in the Americas, the American White Pelican has a wingspan of 9 feet.  They breed in fewer than 60 locations in our western states and Canada. They winter along the Gulf Coast, Mexico, and the southern half of California.  This bird was one of many in flock that were feeding in the water impoundments of the Viera Wetlands near Viera, Florida. 

     Unlike the Brown Pelican who dives from great heights to catch its prey, the white pelican often group together to herd fish into shallow waters where they are scooped up with the pelicans pouched bills.  The American White pelicans are the only one of the pelican species to have a horn on its upper bill.  The horn grows in the early spring and is shed after bird mate and lay eggs.  This photo was taken in March on the birds wintering territory, but as you can see the horn is well under development.

Hear the croaking call of the American White Pelican here:

To read cool facts about the American White Pelican go to:

Tech. Info:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/2500 second @ f6.3