Tag Archives: Kayaking

Repetition: A Compositional Tool

As photographers most of us have had the “rule of thirds” beaten into our artistically thick skulls. So thoroughly is this concept drilled into us that we frequently miss other wonderful compositional opportunities. One compositional concept that is frequently overlooked as to do with repetition. Repeating shapes or objects can be a strong compositional tool. Sometimes repetition will allow and otherwise mundane subject to be an interesting image. Combine repetition with other compositional concepts such as the use of lines and diagonals to help strengthen the impact of such images.

Below are a couple recent images of a sand fence found along the coast of North Carolina. Honestly there’s nothing glamorous about this subject. As subject matter goes a sand fence is not colorful, rare, or particularly beautiful. Yet they can be an interesting subject. What these photos have going for them, at least in my mind, is the repetitious pattern created by the fence combined with the stark contrast of light and dark plus the strength of lines. Take a look and see what you think.

A sand fence .along the Carolina coast

Simple concepts such as repetition, lines, and contrast can combine for interesting compositions..

nautical art for sale

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American Oyster Catchers, One Banded

The other morning I had the pleasure of photographing a couple American Oyster Catchers. One of them was banded and I was able to read the markings in the photo. I then reported the sighting online at http://amoywg.org/. There’s a fairly simple online form you fill out, providing as much information as you can. Once your bird is confirmed the sighting is added to their data base. They also send you an email telling you when the bird was first captured and banded as well as listing other sightings of that bird. If you sight a banded American Oyster Catcher and you’re able to read and of the codes I encourage you to file a report.


American Oyster Catcher along Taylor's Creek.

Banded American Oyster Catcher feeding on a oyster bed in Deep Creek.

Amercian Oyster Catcher.

coastal prints

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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.

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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

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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

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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 , , , , , , , , , , |

Common Loon on Taylor’s Creek

The other day while paddling my kayak on Taylor’s Creek along the Beaufort, NC waterfront I came across a loon that was quite comfortable allowing me to get close for photos. I just love close encounters of the wildlife kind. Here are a few of the resulting photos.

Common Loon on Tayor's Creek

Kayaks allow photographers to get close to skittish wildlife.

Common Loon.

 



 

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

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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.

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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

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SOLD OUT! – May 19,20 Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast Workshop

Wild horses of the Crystal Coast workshop Sold Out!
 The May 19 & 20, 2011 Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast is now Sold Out. There is still space left in the June 23, 24 2011 workshop. If you’ve been wanting to join me for a wild horse adventure don’t put off booking your space. These workshops tend to fill-up very, very quickly. For more information on my instructional offering visit my workshop page.

 


If you enjoy the photos you see on this site you may want to consider purchasing my “Introduction to Kayak Photography” eBook. Many of the images that you’ve been enjoying are made from my kayak. Kayak’s are a wonderful tool that allow you to be up close and personal with many kinds of wild life.

 

USD 4.99 / Download

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