Bayport, photography, sky, sunrise, technology, unintended images, weather

Half-mast sunrise…

4-21halfmastsunriseI had a plan for Saturday morning.  I figured that there was time to go to Bayport for the sunrise, and then head back home and find the Sandhill crane family as they left the pond behind me and headed out on their day’s adventures.  And it was going well, I thought, as I saw the color beginning to develop in the sky.  I don’t always notice the flag when I’m at Bayport, I have already tried, and failed, to get the flag to be flowing in the breeze with the colors of the sunrise behind it.  I guess I need to be taller.  But this day it struck me that the flag was at half-mast, and I realized it was in honor of Barbara Bush.  A well-earned sign of respect I thought.

The colors continued to develop, but the overall gray hue at the horizon continued also.  The 600mm lens saw this…4-21sunriseatbayport4-21sunriseatbayport34-21sunriseatbayport2As it got lighter I turned away from the sunrise and looked to the west, looking for otters playing, or the Great Blue Heron who frequently appears just as the sun rises.  I found neither, but I did find a magnificent cloud that looked like a very colorful tornado.  I knew that it was possible to take a vertical panoramic photo with the iPhone, but I hadn’t found a suitable subject before.  IMG_3016 2.jpgIf I hadn’t stopped for coffee and a muffin I might have caught the crane family heading out, but not this day.  Still, a good start to the day…

fun, perseverance, photography, simple things, special effects, technology

Baseball and fireworks…

Last week the photo group went to opening day of the Clearwater Threshers baseball team.  They were playing the Dunedin Bluejays, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening.  During the ballgame the photo to get is the ball on the bat for the hitters, and the ball just leaving the fingertips of the pitchers.  I got neither, I tried though.  I had 477 photos, none of which even came close.  More practice is in order.  But all was not lost, the other photo op of the evening was the post-game fireworks.  That was a little more successful, thanks to advice from the group.  A 10 second shutter speed, I’d never have come up with that on my own.  You couldn’t see what you were getting on the camera, you were flying blind.  I will go again since this photo op comes up a few times during baseball season.  Senior price of admittance is $6, lots of fun for just a little money.

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birds, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, photography, pond creatures, technology

The Gatorland Rookery…

The Anhinga chicks really stood out, even from across the marsh at Gatorland, because the chicks are yellow.  Very different from the Great Egret and Woodstork chicks that were also there.  I had to ask what those babies were because at that point the adult Anhinga that was with them was hunkered down enough that I didn’t realize there was an adult on the nest.  The Anhinga is also called the water turkey, because of it’s tail, and the snake bird, because of it’s habit of swimming with only it’s head and neck out of the water.  I can attest to the fact that it’s startling to see them swimming like that, at least the first time you come across them.

What you normally see is an Anhinga perched on a branch close to the water, with it’s wings outstretched to dry them.  They swim completely underwater to stalk their prey, and they catch their fish for dinner by stabbing it through the side with their beak.  I’ve seen them in smaller numbers at the rookery close to my house, but they keep to the low branches and I hadn’t been able to see their nests at all.  But at Gatorland their nests are high in the trees, and lots easier to see.  And photograph…4-1anhinga14-1anhinga24-1anhinga34-1anhinga44-1anhinga54-1anhinga64-1anhingafoot.jpg4-1anhinga7This last was a silhouette already, so I tried one of the new profiles in this new version of Lightroom.

adventure, birds, learning, nature, photography, technology

Emu…

I had a post all written and ready to post this morning.  It was on the Blue Moon that I saw Saturday night, well, actually Sunday morning.  But in Lightroom class on Monday night there was a chuckle over those nighttime shots where the sky takes on all sorts of blue and brown colors.  Then Jeff proceeded to tell us how to get rid of them.  Color me a novice, but I thought those skies looked quite interesting, and was kind of proud of the photos I was going to post.  I will re-edit them in the new and dramatically improved version of Lightroom that just became available today.  And the feature photo has nothing to do with Emus, it’s just one of the few I could crop to long and skinny.

In the meantime I applied some of what I learned to the Emu pictures I took at Gatorland.  Emus are the second largest bird, second to the Ostrich.  They are the largest bird that is native to Australia.  They have tiny little wings and are flightless, but with their strong legs they can reach sustained speeds of 30 mph, and they can jump 7 feet in the air, so they are quite capable of avoiding trouble.  And if they have to fight their feet are powerful weapons.  In zoos they can reach an age of 35 years old.  Their feathers have two shafts from each follicle, which creates the hairlike appearance.  Honestly, I took the pictures trying to get that head on shot, just because I knew it would be silly.  I didn’t expect them to provide a learning tool for Lightroom.  I think we ought to name this one Tripod, and yes, she needs a pedicure…

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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