Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring Fever

Friday the 18th sure brought out the spring fever.  We were meeting friends in Matamoras on Friday evening so we could spend the next day looking for Eagles, Waterfowl and hawks.  We got "lulled" into dressing for good weather.  Saturday morning brought cold and high winds (up to 50 mph).  We saw a number of Bald Eagles, ducks and hawks though.  This winter was a great winter in our area for Rough Legged hawks.

Most of the migratory Bald Eagles have headed for "home" to rebuild their nests.  This adult Bald Eagle is one of the resident bald Eagles where the Lackawaxen River joins the Delaware River.  He did a couple of flyovers for us.

Canon Mk IV 1D, Canon 600mm f4 @ f13 1/1000 ISO500 
I would have normally taken that shot at f8 or faster and would have had about +1 EC.  However, it was a cloudy and "foggy" day with lots of light -so there was no need to counteract a bright sky. Also, since there was plenty of light I wanted to try a smaller aperture to be able to get ALL of the Eagle in focus. The image could still use some boosting of tonal change to make it "pop".  So, the following is one where I have shifted the curves and applied hue and saturation to the sky.

A large flock of Mallards kept floating down the Lackawaxen onto the Delaware and then they would fly back up the Lackawaxen to float down again.  I barely had enough shutter speed to stop wing and flight action on this shot.  Lucked out that I caught them just as they took off and did not yet have their speed up. 

Canon Mk IV 1D, Canon 600mm f4 @ f8 1/800 ISO500 

From the Zane Grey Boat launch we went to Liberty Loop trail at the north end of Liberty Marsh NWR. We sighted Red tail Hawks, Rough Legged hawks, Northern Harriers and a Merlin.  I plan to spend more time there before winter is over to get better shots of the Harriers-particularly the Male. 

By the time I was able to get shots of theFemale Northern Harrier, storm clouds had moved in with high winds and low light.  So, some digital noise resulted.

Canon Mk IV 1D, Canon 600mm f4 @ f6.3 1/1600 ISO2000 

The male Northern harrier kept catching me unprepared as he glided low to ground and was upon me before I could react.  I finally got a couple of shots of him.

EC +1
Canon Mk IV 1D, Canon 600mm f4 @ f6.3 1/800 ISO800 EC+1

Until Next Time.
Jim Borden

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Elk in Winter

We spent last weekend in Benezett Pa and surrounding area.  It was a pleasant weekend with freezing temperatures, some snow and some sun.  The elk were out almost all day feeding on Saturday.  We saw over 200 elk in our travels.  Some were decent bulls-but not of the class that we have previously seen in that area.  The low sun levels in the winter actually provide some of the best photo opportunities that one will have during mid day.  The end of day "Golden Light" is also beautiful at this time of year.  Some like to adjust white balance to take away the golden quality--I prefer to capture that Golden Light.

Canon 7D; Canon 70-200 f4 w1.4TC; f7.1 1/125 ISO500 EC-.33

Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 600 f4 at f7.1 1/640 ISO 1000

I was surprised to witness a bull still "checking" on the estrus condition of cows and he hit pay dirt as exemplified by the famous phlemen.  i sure wish I had captured this with a snowy or evergreen background.  the brown leaves make the photo "busy".
Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 600 f4 at f6.3 1/800 ISO 1000

Found this young elk close to the edge of the highway--those tender shots there were keeping him occupied.  I was worried he might step out into traffic.
Canon 7D; Canon 70-200 f4 w1.4TC; f7.1 1/400 ISO800

Until next time!

Jim Borden

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pa Grand Canyon in Winter

This week's blog entry departs from my normal comfort zone with photography (Wildlife) and ventures into scenery. Winter can be dull and dreary and yet so beautiful.  I traveled home to Holiday Pa last weekend to pick up my mother to have her spend a few days with us to celebrate her 80th birthday.  While there, she and I took a drive past her old homestead and went to Leonard Harrison Lookout that I have enjoyed so much over the years.  It was snowing and overcast and even though the parking lot was plowed, the actual lookout area was untouched and it gave it such a remote, beautiful look.  Even with overcast skies, the dynamic range of light was beyond the camera capability to capture it all-so I decided to apply HDR and took three shots of each scene-normal exposure and full stop under and over.  Some of the pictures I took at my usual spots and I decided to show the fall and winter versions here for contrast-each has its own beauty!

Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 24-105 F4 at F13 1/50 ISO200 EC +1,-1 and 0

Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 24-105 F4 at F13 1/50 ISO200 EC +1,-1 and 0

Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 24-105 F4 at F13 1/50 ISO200 EC +1,-1 and 0

Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 24-105 F4 at F13 1/50 ISO200 EC +1,-1 and 0

Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 24-105 F4 at F13 1/50 ISO200 EC +1,-1 and 0

Canon MK IV 1D; Canon 24-105 F4 at F13 1/50 ISO200 EC +1,-1 and 0

The Pa Grand Canyon is a wonderful place to visit in any season.  For me-it takes me back to my roots.  It also provides a philosophical lesson in understanding that things are as they are even when we have led ourselves to believe that things are as we would wish.  I had not posted these before now, due to a sadness in realizing due to events of last week that things in life are as they are and not as I have wanted to believe.  The ability to enjoy the outdoors and to capture some of its beauty in pictures brings a oeace and understanding to my life!

Until Next Time

Jim Borden