nature, perseverance, photography, sunrise, technology, unintended images

Short cuts…

Headed out for the sunrise this morning, but stuck closer to home and went to the Hammond’s Creek Bridge.  I was planning to take some HDR photos of the sunrise itself, but the more I looked the more I wondered about the houses that I have ignored as photo fodder when I’ve been there before.  The HDR technique is to take three photos, one slightly under exposed, one correctly exposed, and one slightly over exposed.  These will be merged into one photo, and, if I understand it correctly, allows for more color (High Dynamic Range) in the photo.  Because three photos are being merged you need to use a tripod to hold the camera still when you are taking the pictures.  The real challenge is in setting the camera to shoot the three photos automatically, and yes, my basic Canon T6 allows me to do just that.  And setting it to use the 2 second delay so that you don’t move the camera by manually taking the shot.  You can merge the photos manually also, but I’ve been using the Easy HDR program that I recently got.  I need to learn to use more of the editing features within the program, but I’ve been so tickled by the photos straight out of the program that I’ve stuck with them.  I always have been a fan of short cuts.  I thought that the houses in the feature photo in particular took to the HDR rather well, but we also have these…Hammondsdramaticstrongbaitshopinterior3There is also a preset for black and white, which I had never tried, EVER, until I tried this…baitshopblackandwhiteSo then I tried this…HammondsblackandwhiteI like the black and white a lot.  I should have tried it sooner, just for the fun of it.  And, least you think I forgot all about the sunrise all together, we have our two-footed heron friend and the sunrise.  I’m a little worried about our one-footed friend,  I’ll have to come here for a sunset soon since there are usually fishermen around, and I can ask them about Fred.  Photographers and fishermen, my favorite people these days…3-24heronsunriseHDR

Florida landmarks, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset

St. Pete blue hour photowalk…

Last night we had a group of twenty or so people for the group photo walk in St. Pete.  That was all new territory to me with so many potential places to photograph.  I’m not sure why the night photography appeals to me so much, especially since I’ve never been  a night person.  Tomorrow night I’ll get a quick lesson in editing these type of photos, so I’m flying by the seat of my pants today.  Thank goodness for Easy HDR…

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This last photo surprised me.  The streaks at the bottom are taillights of cars that zipped through the shot while the camera was taking a slow shutter photo.  It’s an effect you can try to get, but this was accidental.  Happy accident.  Now I’ll try for that effect and miss it.

adventure, backyard visitors, birds, chickens, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography, unintended images

Surprise…

I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the chickens.  I had gone out the back door with the 600mm lens on my camera intending to take a couple of photos of the cranes  who have nested out there.  I didn’t expect to see my neighbor’s chickens out there, and clearly they weren’t expecting me either.  When I attempted to put the camera on the tripod I realized I’d brought out the wrong tripod, so for the heck of it I tried a couple of hand held shots of the chickens.   The camera was zoomed all the way out, and since those shots seemed clear enough I attempted to aim out at the cranes, and that’s when I couldn’t hold it steady.  It was impossible.3-22chicken23-22chicken1

I headed out the door again, with the correct tripod this time, and saw what I knew from photographs to be Swallow-tail Kites zooming around out there.  I hadn’t seen them on the lake before so I concentrated on them as they finally landed in a tree across the way. First one landed, and then her mate landed also.  I cropped these photos past where they should have been for clarity sake, but I wanted to see what was actually happening out there.  I believe that the second one to land brought a lizard to the other one.  The recipient stayed and posed in the tree for a bit, but the other one was off again immediately.  And then they both were gone.  I’m so glad I was ready with the camera since I don’t know if I expect to see them out there again.  3-22swallowtail43-22swallowtail53-22swallowtail23-22swallowtail3Maybe if you are taking a photograph of a still life scene you have the luxury of composing your photo.  It seems I’m always the last one to know what I’ll wind up shooting on any given day, but I’m not complaining.

 

birds, connections, coping, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, nesting, photography

Catching up…

Sometimes what you are behind on is sleep, and when you are practically asleep on your feet it pays to just give in.  That’s not last night’s sunset, it’s from the night before.  I had decided to try an HDR photo of the sunset, only the clouds I had seen at home weren’t there to light up the sky when I got to Bayport.  I did enjoy a nice conversation with a man and his two young daughters, one of whom loves photography.  She liked nature photography she said, so I told them about the rookery with all the newly hatched chicks and they said they’d like to go there.  Maybe that’s why it was on my mind yesterday when I woke up from a nap that I hadn’t intended to take and discovered that the day was getting away from me.  I thought I’d go there at sunset to see all the flocks of birds that another photographer had told me about.  Flocks of additional birds fly into the area for the night, he said, flying in and filling the trees that had seemed to be full of birds already.  And, as usual, he was right.  And he was there when I got there, not taking pictures but just enjoying the action, because it would be impossible to get a photo that would tell the story of what was taking place.  As the flocks of birds arrived he would describe the aircraft they resembled as they flew in, and he supplied the sound effects to go with their landing technique.  As usual, getting out with the camera can salvage a day, and a mood, leaving you feeling better as you head home than you felt as you headed out.  I couldn’t help myself though, I shot photos of what I was seeing as I listened…3-21anhinga3-21anhinga23-21storks3-21ibis3-21storks23-21storks33-21storks1

dogs, home, photography, unintended consequences

It was that kind of day…

I know the sunrise happened because it got lighter out, but it never got prettier.  And when I got home it was no better.3-18sunrise2So I decided to make some oatmeal.  I had added a chopped up apple to my steel cut oats one day, and that was good, but the next day I added a ‘halo’ and milk and that was even better.  Orange creamsicle oatmeal!  That’s what I thought I’d do again when I discovered the milk had expired, but in the true waste-not want-not New England tradition I didn’t let that stop me.3-18orangecreamsicleEven the dogs seemed to just go into low gear, not pestering me to go out multiple times all day.  3-18sleepyBut even lazing around for an entire day can get boring, so by the late afternoon the sun was out, and it seemed like we should be outside also.3-18shadowsWalk the dogs and go out for the sunset I told myself.  Maybe even stop at Chili’s and sit at the bar and have some Southwestern Egg Rolls.  We were almost home, just up around the bend when it all went sideways.  I heard a screen door bang, and first one, then a second pit bull charged out of a house and were bearing down on us, sounding like they meant business.  So what did I do?  I dropped Zoe’s leash on purpose, and I now feel guilty about that, like I was offering her up as a sacrifice.  But in reality I knew she wouldn’t escalate the situation.  It was Ozzie’s reaction that I feared was going to make things infinitely worse, so I hung onto him with both hands.  The first dog had gotten to Zoe when the owners were on the scene, screaming at the dogs and adding to the chaos, but the dogs appeared to be listening to them.  I have no idea what Ozzie and Zoe did in response because I couldn’t take my eyes off of those two dogs.  Low to the ground and very muscular, I just knew how strong they looked.  As the owners herded the dogs back home, apologizing all the while, I realized that we three had not moved one muscle during all of this. Even Ozzie.  We had stood there in silence, like statues, the whole while.  Then they both looked at me and what popped into my head was the old Lone Ranger shows where the townsfolk would look at each other and ask, ‘”Who was that masked man?”  We went home and put on pajamas, well, I did, and cracked open a beer, me again, and that was it for us.  It was that kind of day.

birds, egrets, Florida wildlife, life, nature, nesting, photography

It takes a village…

It seems like that might describe the goings on at the rookery.  Do each of the egret or stork parents tend only to their own offspring?  When they are in such close quarters I mean?  I’ve heard that the owlet that had to be removed from the nest at Philippe Park has been brought back to the nest twice, only to fly to the ground immediately.  And the parents haven’t been seen in the vicinity for a while now.  So they are trying to locate another set of owl parents in hopes that she will be accepted.  Assuming that they have seen this done successfully before then I have to wonder if it happens in nature.  I have no answers for this, just questions…

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