Another Cattle Egret – Plus More

Ann and I decided to take another run down to the Eldorado Water Treatment ponds again yesterday, Monday, morning.  With all that bird activity, I wanted to see if I could pick up some more good images, or at least improve on some previous photos.

First of all, we found that the little juvenile Cattle Egret was still hanging around.  I got this photo of it as it was perched upon a post in one of the ponds.  It was an easy shot with my Canon 7D and 100-400mm lens.  1/500 sec. @f8 and ISO 400.  Sky a little overcast so it made for excellent lighting.

juvenile Cattle Egret

We started to drive around the ponds again, slowly, as we always do.  I had my other Canon 7D with the 500mm lens and 1.4 converter in my lap, leaning slightly out the window.  My Puffin’ Pad window cushion was in place.  I was hoping to see another Wilson’s Snipe.

As we were making a turn around the corner of one of the ponds, I was rewarded.  Right down to my left, only about twenty feet away, I spotted one.  I quickly set up my camera in the window.  I discovered that I nearly had too much lens.  The snipe, as you can see, filled up the frame, with the 500mm and 1.4 converter.  He froze thinking that I couldn’t see him, which was nearly true, as he was blending in with the weeds and mud.  I didn’t want to grab the other camera with the 100-400mm for fear that he might fly.

"Hiding in Plain Sight"

Wilson Snipe.  Canon 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter. 1/400 sec. @ f8, ISO 400.

These ponds are about 150 feet across.  There are hundreds of ducks of different species, and it has been hard to get decent close-ups even with using the 500mm and the 1.4 converter.  The ducks always seem to swim away to the furthest side of the pond.

To solve the problem, or at least help it a bit, I decided to do something that I never tried.  I have a 2x tele-converter that I can use on the 500mm, but because it would change the aperture to an f8, the auto focus is dis-abled.  Therefore I would have to hand-hold it and manual focus.  Plus the ducks are moving on the water.  But, I figured what the heck.  Nothing to lose.

I went ahead and attached the 2x making my working focal distance 1,000mm.  I sat it on the window sill, and focused it on this female Northern Shoveler, so far away it was pretty tiny with the naked eye.  The result, as you can see, isn’t so bad.  I was able to crop it and print out a nice 8×10.

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler.  Canon 7D with 500mm lens plus 2x tele-converter.  Focal Distance 1,000mm.  1/4000 sec. @ f8, ISO 400.  Manual focus, hand-held with aid of a Puffin’ Pad window support.

Now that I can get these great results, I may use the 2x tele-converter more often when down in Eldorado.

I hope you enjoyed the images, and my little telling of the experience.  Click on any photo to see an enlargement.

Middle Concho Park – Hot Friday Afternoon

We decided to get in our air-conditioned car for a short trip to Middle Concho Park.  Just to get out of the house.  Got a couple of good pictures.  One of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) and a Great Egret (Ardea alba).  We also saw what I think was a Long-billed Curlew (Limosa fedoa).  If it was a curlew, it was a bit out of season for this part of the state.  But strange sightings are almost the norm lately.  I didn’t get a photo so I am unable to confirm it.

Great Blue Heron

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens with 1.4 televerter – hand-held
  • 1/2000 sec. @f5.6
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance  700mm
  • Metering – partial
  • Manual exposure

Great Egret

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens with 1.4 tele-converter – hand-held
  • 1/1600 sec. @f10 minus 1.7 EV adjustment
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance  700mm
  • Metering – partial
  • Aperture priority

I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Click on either one to see an enlargement.

Return to the Great Blue Heron’s Nest

Most of you remember the post that I published a couple of weeks ago of the fledglings on the Great Blue Heron nest.   I assumed that the chick would be gone within another week.  Not so.  I went by there over the weekend and there they were.  As I arrived, the adult was just landing to give the kids a feeding.  What a sight.  Those “little” guys got into a frenzy.  All I could see was flying wing, beaks, feet.  Check this image out.  Is this a riot or what?  There are three chicks plus the adult in this picture.

Hey, Ma, we're still hungry

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm – tripod mounted with Wimberley II Gimball head
  • 1/160 @ f13
  • ISO 200
  • Lens focal distance 500

After they were fed, the adult took off and flew upstream, probably to find another helping for the little critters.  Two of them snookered down for a nap but this one decided he wanted to look around a bit.  I was finally able to focus, (pun intended), on getting a better composition and photograph.

Great Blue Heron - fledgling

  •  Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm tripod mounted on Wimberley II gimbal head.
  • 1/800 @ f10
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance 500mm

I hope you like the photos.  I had my left eye surgery yesterday and I have discovered a whole new world out there.  Now I can get back to doing what I do best, and try to come up with some more new images.  Click on any of the photos for an enlargement.  Also, of course, to vote for one of my photos, click here People’s Choice.

Tale of the Take: Great Blue Heron II

We were at Spring Lake Park yesterday morning with our friends Suzanne and Sid Johnson, who drove in from Eldorado.  As we drove slowly by this little lagoon, I spotted a Great Blue Heron wading along, searching the water for prey.  I had my camera on my lap and decided to get a photograph.  Just as I got the camera to my eye, I saw him tense, and I knew he was going to fly.  I immediately pressed the shutter and held it at approximately 8 frames per sec and got a series of photos.  Here are three of the resulting images.

The EXIF exposure data for these images is as follows:

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 100-400mm lens – hand-held
  • 1/2500 sec. @ f5.6 – minus 1/3 EV
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance – 260mm
  • Shutter priority
  • Partial metering

I might mention one of my habits.  I prefer to adjust my EV by minus -1/3 most of the time, as I like how that slight under-exposure renders the tonal values.  Of course, if the whites are still extra bright, I go another 1/3.  And then, of course, there are my “senior moments” where I have forgotten to make the proper EV adjustments and have had to correct in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  I use both, depending on……….heck, I don’t know.  I just do this stuff by feel, meaning I use whatever I feel like at the time. 🙂

It really makes me chuckle.  My work flow is so confusing and maybe “cluttered”, I sometimes wonder how I manage to produce the good work that I do.  If two people asked me how I did something, I would probably give two different answers.  But, for me, the fun is getting the job done with a great result, not how I accomplished it. 🙂

So, I hope you enjoyed the above images.  You can click on any of them to see some enlargements.  You can still vote for me at this link, People’s Choice Award.  I appreciate your votes.