Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Break from the Rain

Florida Birding

The heavy rain has finally let up, so now we are just getting our typical Florida summertime afternoon showers. This gave me the opportunity to go out shooting again, and I enjoyed spending the morning at my favorite venue. But it is really getting hot - the temperature topped out just over 90-degrees F yesterday, and it is expected to get worse. You can tell summer is on its way, although it has not officially arrived.
Below are some photos from my latest outing, including a few headshots and a great egret flight sequence.

[click on any image to enlarge]
6791c - Snowy Egret
This snowy egret photo is probably my favorite shot of the day. It was made with my backup camera, a Canon 40d with 300mm f2.8 lens and 2x extender (600mm). I've heard people say for a long time that the 2x extender degrades picture quality too much to be of use. I used to think that was true, but I realized last year that my camera focus was out of calibration, and once that was corrected, I began to get nice images, even with the 2x. I might add that to get good results with an extender, you should attach it to a good quality lens.

The tricolor heron below is a young bird, as you can tell by the coloration and the head feathers.
66424 - Tricolor Heron
There were a good number of roseatte spoonbills (15 to 20), but they were roosting in the trees and seldom flying around. Every so often a few of them would get restless and fly off to a different perch. I was not able to get many good flight photos of them because I either was not close enough or the light was at a bad angle. Here is one shot I managed to get, although pretty heavily cropped.

66577c - Roseatte Spoonbill

66606 - Snowy Egret
Snowy egrets were flying around jousting for space in several trees, and I captured this image when one of them held still for a few seconds. Most of the time, the snowy egrets did not stay put for very long, except for the ones sitting on eggs.

66651c - Tricolor Heron

I do not have many tricolor heron flight shots, so if I get an opportunity I always try to capture a better one. I snapped several photos as this one flew past, and
this was my favorite one.
Below is a flight sequence of a great egret flying to the nest with a stick. I watched as the bird tore the branch from a tree, and then prepared to fly back to the nest. I like the first and last shots the best. It's interesting to watch as the bird springs off the tree and spreads its wings to take off.

#66627 - 66631 Great Egret flight sequence


  1. What amazing shots!! Specially the Great Egret flight sequence.The Roseatte Spoonbill shot is superb.

  2. Exceptional series Tim. Your flight shots are awesome as always. Blue Skies.

  3. Hi Tim,
    I still have cramps from the first shot, it is so funny!!! Something like a heary guy!!! These portraist are just fantastics and the flight shots are even better... A big big big quality.. Amazing!!

  4. Whoa Tim, stunning series. The flight shots are breathtaking, but the first images surely takes the breath away. Class

  5. Words are difficult to describe such a wonderful sequence... however, I can say that being one of my favorite animals, I am looking forward to take one of these shots one day... Congrats!!!

  6. Beautiful shots, Tim. I especially like the first one.

    I have not had good success with the 500mm F4, or 300F4 with the 2x. It seems it is better to use the 1.4X and crop more severely, but from what I have seen of others work the 300mm F2.8 does work very well with the 2x. Just a theory, but its' optical formulation is probably more compatible with the 2x than the other lenses are.

    As you have no doubt seen, Thomas of "Walk The Wilderness" gets superb shots with the Nikon 300 2.8 and 2x, and Ed Vatza of "Its My Nature", does the same with the Canon. I have heard the 300 2.8 is possibly the sharpest lens Canon makes, but whatever the case, I agree with you that this combination does work well.

  7. That first Snowy Egret image is top class!! I often use the 300mm 2.8 and 2x converter and in good light I am happy with the results. I also need to send my gear in for calibration.

  8. I'm a huge egret and heron fan and you have some fantastic flight shots with them. But I really like is the first egret portrait - this is the best egret portrait ever seen. I find it fabulous.