Tag Archives: avian

Black Bellied Plover – Winter Plumage

While on my paddle the other morning I spied a plover searching the mouth of Deep Creek for a morning snack. I made a slow, drifting approach to see if I could get a few photos. As I got nearer I could see that it was a Black Bellied Plover, still in its winter plumage. It didn’t seem to mind my presence and I was able to get a few photos of this little bird as it worked the shoreline hunting for a few tasty morsels.


A Black Bellied Plover near the mouth of Deep Creek  in the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

The Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve is a wonderful location for viewing shorebirds.

Black Bellied Plover photographed near Beaufort, North Carolina.

The Crystal Coast is home to a large varitey of birds.

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Snowy Egret at Low Tide

I decided to go for a paddle yesterday morning. As always, I had my camera along with the hope of getting a few images. I was fortunate to come across a couple of very cooperative Snowy Egrets that allowed me to watch and photograph them as they hunted an oyster bed exposed by the low tide. Here are a few of the shots.


A Snowy Egret hunts along the mouth of Deep Creek

Snowy Egret at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

Snowy Egret near Beaufort, NC

A Snowy Egret stalks its breakfast

A Snowy Egret fishing

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

American Oyster Catcher in Flight

Just a simple, single image post today. Here’s a photo of an American Oyster Catcher in Flight near Beaufort, North Carolina. In reference to my previous post of tricks to improve your photography you may notice that I used the rule of thirds in selecting the placement of the subject, made sure the eye was sharp and in focus and left space in front of the bird for it to “move into.” Can you find any more of my “ten tricks” applied in this image?

 

American Oyster Catcher in Flight

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Juvenile White Ibis Along the Crystal Coast

The White Ibis exists in large numbers along the eastern Carolina coast. I see many, many of them and, to be honest, find photographing them to be a bit boring. While the down curved bill is kind of interesting the plain white plumage is kind of… well… ho-hum! That said, I find the young birds quite a bit more interesting. Immature White Ibis are anything but white! The browns and grays make their plumage more interesting… at to me. While paddling along Taylor’s Creek the other morning, on my way to visit the wild horses hanging out on Town Marsh Island, I came upon a juvenile White Ibis perched in a tree. I couldn’t resist stopping to take a few photos. I thought the bent, crooked limbs of the tree created an interesting frame around the bird. Below are a couple of the resulting images.


Juvenile White Ibis perched along Taylor's Creek on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

Immature White Ibis.

bird photos

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

White Ibis and Little Blue Heron Along the Beaufort NC Waterfront

I had the opportunity to launch my kayak and do a little wildlife photography the other morning. It was an extremely winding morning, making it a little difficult to hold position while shooting. The fast moving air, however, help provide some relief from the heat and humidity of the morning. All in all it was a nice way to spend the morning.

White Ibis along Taylors Creek

Little Blue Heron along North Carolina's Crystal Coast

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Shorebird Doing a Song Bird Imitation.

While moving from the dunes to the wetlands area on Shackleford Banks during Saturday’s afternoon session of the Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast workshop we came across a Willet doing a nice imitation of a song bird. Most likely it had youngsters nearby and was trying to run us away with all of it’s chatter and commotion. It did make for a unique photo opportunity. I’m more familiar with seeing these guys working along the water’s edge, looking for a meal. In case anyone is interested I posted fall dates for the Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast workshop. Just click on “Workshops” in the menu at the top of the page.

A Willet perched in a tree

Posted in General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , |

Semipalmated Plovers at Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

I loaded up my kayak and paid the reserve a visit a few mornings ago. As is usually the case, my efforts were awarded with plenty of photography opportunities. I found these plovers feeding along mouth of Deep Creek, the entrance into the tidal flats. These small birds are a joy to watch and a challenge to photograph. They tend to be more than a little suspicious of anything approaching them. Getting close to them, however, is easier from the water than from land. Such is one of the benefits of using a kayak for photography. Here are a few shots from the encounter.

A tiny plover explores the beach looking for a meal.

Semipalmated Plover at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

Plovers are very small shore birds.

North Carolina's Crystal Coast is a wonderful destination for nature and wildlife photographers.

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Kayaking, Nature Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Little Blue Heron

While paddling my kayak this morning I came across three Little Blue Herons. Two of these tres hombres were quite shy and took to wing before I got within camera range. But one was absolutely calm in my presence and just kept fishing along the waters edge. The bird was in classic breeding colors (hint, look at the head, neck and bill), making it a very handsome model. These and Reddish Egrets are my favorite large wading birds. I’m always thrilled when I get to observe them. Below are a few photos from the encounter.

Little Blue Heron on Taylor's Creek

Little Blue Heron in breeding colors.

Rachel Carson Reserve is home to many interesting birds.

Little Blue along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron found along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks.

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Kayaking, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A Tough Shot from a Kayak!

I launched my kayak last Saturday afternoon with the goal of paddling into a blackwater swamp and sitting for a while in hopes of getting a shot of a Prothonotory Warbler. It was suppose to rain that hint and all-day Sunday. As I started my paddle the wind was starting to pick-up and I could see clouds building off in the distance. I made it into the swamp as planned but my stay was cut a bit short as light was fading quickly because of the increasing cloud cover. Finally I realized it was time to head back to the ramp or risk a return trip in total darkness. As I made my way to the ramp I noticed a Great Blue Heron feeding along the river bank. It was a picturesque location and certainly was worth an attempt at getting a shot.

The challenge was going to be getting a useable shot. In the dim light getting a shutter speed that would be fast enough to make a sharp image was going to be tough. I started cranking up the ISO, going all the way up to iso 1250! A high setting like that would almost insure a lot of noise in the resulting image. Checking my exposure settings, even at that high ISO setting, my shutter speed was going to be less than 1/100 of a second. That’s much too slow to insure a sharp image when hand-holding a 500mm lens. In order to get to a faster shutter speed I opened my aperture up. I know this lens and this lens is at its sharpest at around f/8.0. Opening the aperture wider than that can result in images that a bit soft. I ended up compromising, choosing an aperture of f/7.1. That got me a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second. A speed still much slower than the theoretical minimum target of 1/500 of a second for hand-holding a long lens like this. Considering I’m shooting from a kayak on choppy water and ideally I’d have a shutter speed closer to 1/1000 of a second! In these lighting conditions this was the best I was going get, 1/125 at f/7.1 and iso 1250. I tried to steady myself, holding as carefully and steady as possible and squeezed off a few shots. Honestly I was optimistic about what I’d find on the memory card.

When I got home I unloaded and stored the kayak away, put the camera up and spent some time visiting with my wife. I didn’t even bother to check the images for several days. I knew the odds of getting and image that was even suitable for use on the internet were pretty low. Much to my surprise there was a fairly decent image in the series. Was it perfect? Not by a long shot but the noise wasn’t too bad and it was reasonably sharp. A little post processing work in photoshop include a touch of noise reduction resulted in a fairly pleasing image.

Sometimes conditions are tough. When you understand the limitations of your equipment it’s easy to convince yourself to not even try to make and image in some situations. Personally I think it’s always worth the effort to give it a try. You probably won’t get anything for the effort except the comfort that you gave it your best shot. Then again, sometimes you get lucky. Below is the image described above.

Sometimes you just get lucky.  Theoretically this image wasn't possible in the conditions shot.

 



 

Now available my “Introduction to Kayak Photography” eBook. Learn how to approach skittish wildlife from the water to add an interesting perspecitve to your photographs. Take advantage of the low introductory price while it lasts.

 

USD 4.99 / Download

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Photo Tip Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Shackleford Banks Seagulls

It’s all too easy to overlook seagulls when making nature photographs. After all, along the coast they seem almost omni-presents. They’re almost everywhere. Even so there are a variety of different gulls and they can make interesting photographic subjects. Here is a Laughing Gull and a Ringbill Gull photographed while waiting on pick-up from Shackleford Banks. Often times the best tactic for photographing shore birds is to take a seat along the beach, stay reasonably quiet and still, and to allow them to come to you.

 


A Laughing Gull strikes a pose along the beach on Shackleford Banks
A Ringbill Gull goes for a wade.

 



 

Now available my “Introduction to Kayak Photography” eBook. Learn how to approach skittish wildlife from the water to add an interesting perspecitve to your photographs.

 

USD 4.99 / Download

Posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Photo Tip, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , |
UA-667219-3