Pecos River High Bridge – HDR images


There has been a lot of talk about HDR imaging.  It brings to mind one of my experiences.  Back in July of 2008 Ann and I were heading for the Big Bend country of west Texas.  We took the long way, driving due south to Del Rio, then heading northwest on Highway 90.  That highway follows the course of the Rio Grande River.  Along the way we go through Langtry, the home of the now deceased Judge Roy Bean, who ruled that part of the state for many year with his gavel and a six-gun.

A few more miles on, actually only 45 miles from Del Rio, we come to the confluence of the Pecos River, that flows from the north to join the Rio Grande.  The Pecos River High Bridge rises 273 feet above the water.  From that point, you can look south for a couple of  miles, and actually see where the Pecos joins the Rio Grande.

It is a very desolate, hard, hot, dry climate along there, and the Mexican border is only a few hundred yards to the south of the highway.  Nothing of any use grows there and the hard rock is only inches below the scrub and weeds.  Nothing moves much either, except for the occasional Border Patrol vehicle.  It is at a little turnoff that I took these pictures of the bridge and the river itself.

But I have gotten off the track of this story a bit.  I had been reading about HDR imaging, so at this site I decided to take a series of bracketed photos to try out the procedure.  The idea is to take three exposures, one under-exposed, one at the proper exposure and one over-exposed.  I took about five of these series of bracketed images, intending to try the procedure out upon returning home.

Well, as things tend to do, all was forgotten.  I forgot all about the images that I had taken – that is until this morning, as I was going through some more old stuff.  I don’t think I had the proper software back in 2008 anyway.  But now I do. I have PhotoMatix Pro.

These first three images are the three original images, exposed the way I explained above.  The fourth image is the final HDR image after using that software.  You can see that there is a vast difference from the original normal exposure.  The greatest thing about it was, that it took only a few minutes using the PhotoMatix software.

Normal Exposure

Over-exposure

Under-exposure

Pecos River High Bridge - final HDR image

Okay, let’s show you another one.  Same sequence.

Normal exposure

Under-exposure

Over-exposure

Pecos River High Bridge #2 - final HDR image

Okay, how about a third series, then we’ll call it a day.  In this image, if you look to the left, or south, you can see the end of the cliffs.  That is where the Pecos River joins the Rio Grande River.  The land to the far left and top of the image is Mexico.

Normal exposure

Under-exposure

Over-exposure

Pecos River High Bridge #3 - final HDR image

That was fun.  I hope you enjoyed looking at this amazing procedure.  Well, I am heading back to the Big Bend this fall, and hope to get some more eye-popping images.

Prairie Dogs say the dog-goned-est things


I was looking at all of my Prairie Dog images today, and in my devious mind I imagined what these little guys were thinking. 🙂

These were all photographed at San Angelo State Park, San Angelo, Texas.  Click on the images to see enlargements.  Enjoy.

"Do these pants make me look fat?"

"OMG, I soooo love these things!"

"I hope I don't look too suspicious".

"Someday this will all be yours".

"Should I was my hands before supper?"

Images from Hummer House Nature Retreat


I am still going through old images whenever I have extra time.  Today I came across a few more from a trip in May 2010 to the Hummer House Nature Retreat, at Christoval, Texas.  Here are a couple of those gems.

Bathing Painted Bunting

I should have entered this in Karma’s Rainbow colored Photo hunt. 🙂  The Painted Bunting is truly a hand-painted masterpiece from the Man himself.

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens with 1.4 tele-converter
  • 1/640 sec. @ f9 – minus 2/3 EV adjustment
  • ISO 250
  • Lens focal distance – 700mm
  • Metering – partial
  • Aperture priority

Eastern Phoebe

It is amazing that I have never posted a photo of an Eastern Phoebe before this.  It could be that they are hard to get close to, and I have usually seen them only from a distance.  For both of these shots, I was inside an air-conditioned observation room and photographing through a plate glass window.

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens with 1.4 tele-converter
  • 1/400 sec. @ f7.1
  • ISO 500
  • Lens focal distance – 700mm
  • Metering – partial
  • Aperture priority

Click on either image to see an enlargement.

The Vivacious Vermilion Flycatcher


The Vermilion Flycatcher, ( Pyrocephalus rubinus) is one of my favorites of the species.  It is such a vivid red.  It also is a difficult bird to photograph, because it is very flighty and very tiny.  For those reason, I feel very lucky to have gotten up close and personal on a recent visit to Middle Concho Park.  It also helped to have my big lens and a Puffin’ Pad window support, as I wouldn’t have had time to set up my tripod.

Vermilion Flycatcher

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens with 1.4 tele-converter
  • 1/2000 sec. @ f6.3 – minus 1/3 EV adjustment
  • Lens focal distance  – 700m
  • ISO 500
  • Metering – partial
  • Shutter priority

Click on the image if you would like to see an enlarged photo.

Green Heron plus voting results…………..


The votes are coming in and it looks like my old original Texas Tweeties is going to win by a landslide.  It just shows that change isn’t always better.  As we say here in Texas, it is better to dance with the lady that you brought. 🙂

Here are a couple of images of a Green Heron that I took this morning at Middle Concho Park.  It was beneath me resting on a log sticking out from the river bank.  I was in the shade of a tree looking down at his dark color, and there was a glare from the water.  I exposed at plus 2/3 EV to give more light to the bird, but then had to darken the water in during processing.  The EXIF data was the same for both except my camera gave me an f6.3 for the first and f5.6 for the second.

Green Heon

Green Heron

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/1000 sec. at f6.3 and f5.6 respectively
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal lens 400mm
  • Metering – spot
  • Shutter priority

I hope you like the pictures.  Click on either one for an enlargement.  Also, thanks to all who voted in my poll.

New changes to my blog


I have been tweaking my blog again.  Someday, I will have it right.

First, the name.  I have always felt that some people may have thought my “Texas Tweeties”  site had some connotations to TWITTER.  I do not Twitter, nor do I Facebook or use any other social networks.  My blog is mainly about birding and photography.  I am not sure if I like this new name yet, so if any of you would like to make suggestions, please make comment.

Secondly, I have fine-tuned access to my photo collections.  You can click on my Galleries page for links to my various portfolios.  You can also click on the Flickr logo to the right of this post.

New Action at K-mart Creek


Last year, as many of you know, I wrote some posts about this drainage ditch in front of an empty K-mart Building near here.  There was usually then a constant flow down the arroyo so there was many water birds that frequented there.  Herons, Sandpipers, Egrets, etc.  But for the last year or so, since this drought got a huge foothold over west Texas, it has been dry as a bone.

Not so, right now.  Since we got about three inches in the area about a week ago there is a little water back in there.  So it was a pleasant surprise when we drove by there, on our way home from picking up breakfast from the Golden Arches, that we spotted a Yellow-crowned Night Heron.  He was back-lit from the morning sun and the light wasn’t perfect, but with a little post-processing I came up with these usable images.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/125 sec. @ f6.3 – minus 1/3 EV adjustment
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance 400mm
  • Metering – spot
  • Aperture priority

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/200 sec. @ f6.3 – minus 1/3 EV adjustment
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance 400mm
  • Metering – spot
  • Aperture priority

One thing that I have gotten used to, it to adjust my EV to minus 1/3.  I like to use that as my default, or starting point, rather than no adjustment.  I like the way my tonal qualities are just a tad under exposed, I guess.  I am not saying I am right, but it’s something I prefer to do.  I didn’t used to do that, and I am not really sure when I started doing it.

By the way, the heron was gone later in the afternoon when I drove by there again.   I’ll keep my eyes on it.  Click on either image to see an enlargement.

Pesky but beautiful European Starlings


I know that European Starlings, (Sturnus vulgaris), get a bad rap.  They proliferate across the country in large numbers and they say that they are obnoxious.  Look at the second part of the Latin name, vulgaris.  That in itself doesn’t make you feel real great about them.  However, they have never done anything to me to make me feel hostile towards them.  We have two that come to our yard frequently to feed and bathe in our little bird fountain.  I may change my feelings if they start to bring all their relatives and in-laws. 🙂

But you can’t deny that they are a beautiful bird to look at.  I photographed this one at our bird-bath this morning  I took the shot through the glass on our patio door.  Click the image for an enlargement.

European Starling

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/250 sec. @ f6.3 – minus 1/3 EV adjustment
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance  320mm
  • Metering – spot
  • Aperture priority

More Egrets – Ya Gotta Love ‘Em


Two more egret photos from our little foray down to the Eldorado, Texas water treatment ponds.

Great Egret

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens – with 1.4 tele-converter
  • 1/2000 sec. @ f6.3 – minus 1/3 EV adjustment
  • ISO 100
  • Lens focal distance – 700mm
  • Metering – partial
  • Shutter priority

Snowy Egret

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens – with 1.4 tele-converter
  • 1/2000 sec. @ f5.6 – minus 1/3 EV adjustment
  • ISO 125
  • Lens focal distance – 700mm
  • Metering – partial
  • Shutter priority

I hope you like the photos.  Click on either of them for an enlargement.