Hi, friends! Today’s blog post covers pictures I took on Dec. 9, 2013. It was cold, gray, and icy out.
One excuse for my slowness in getting this post done is because I’ve been setting up a new PC. My old PC is 4 years old and lately has been running at a crawl. I was getting real tired of how long it was taking for images to load in Lightroom. Plus, all of a sudden, one of my most used Photoshop plugins, Nik Color Efex Pro 4, had slowed down to about a third of the speed it used to operate at. I checked the GPU settings of the plugin and discovered that my graphics card no longer met the requirements for the program to use its processor. So either Color Efex Pro changed or my graphics card had gone haywire. You wouldn’t believe the torture involved with this program when GPU is not enabled. The sliders don’t slide–they jump–and only after waiting a couple of seconds. A couple seconds is a lifetime when you’re used to responsive sliders!
I didn’t want to buy a new graphics card for a 4-year old, slow computer so I decided to get a new computer. It has some nice upgrades including an i7 hexa-core processor, a 256GB solid state drive, double the RAM of the old one–and of course an upgraded graphics card– among other features. Now, using Lightroom, Photoshop, and their plugins is really quick compared to what it was before. We’ll see how long this lasts!
Let’s get to the photo shoot at Ridgefield! This one didn’t come out as high quality as I had hoped but the Peregrine Falcon was 200 feet away and I had some fog to cut through. Regardless, it’s always a thrill to spot one of these beauties.
Canon 5DMark III, 1/500, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm. (8:35 a.m.) [The ‘real’ images can be viewed by clicking once on the thumbnails! Thanks!]
And this 4-year old Bald Eagle was in a tree 280 feet away but I put the 1.4x on my 500 and tried a fairly high ISO shot. Canon 5DMark III, 1/800, f5.6, ISO 3200, 700mm. (8:59)
Out on the ice was this lone Nutria. Canon 5DMark III, 1/800, f5.6, ISO 3200, 700mm. (9:05)
This appears to be the same Bald Eagle as pictured above but he has moved to a different branch in the same tree. Here I took a series of shots of the bird stretching its wings and taking flight. Canon 5DMark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (9:48)
This Northern Harrier on a post came out a little soft but it’s such a pretty bird I had to post it. Canon 5DMark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (10:46)
A Song Sparrow gives me an interesting pose! Canon 5DMark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (10:51)
Near the turn at marker #12, a Great Blue Heron has his eye on something. Canon 5DMark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (9:48)
And, out on the frozen lake an immature Bald Eagle cools off his feet. The Coots don’t seem to be too alarmed by the eagle’s presence. Canon 5DMark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (12:05 p.m.)
A beautifully colored Song Sparrow poses on a wire. Canon 5DMark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (12:11)
Over by the Kiwa Trail entrance are these large rocks that have commemorative plaques attached to them. Someone had placed birdseed of some kind on the tops of the rocks, I guess to attract the birds for a photo. Or maybe they thought they were helping the birds by providing food during this cold time of year. I’m no expert but from what I’ve read, visitors are not supposed to feed wildlife at the refuge, not to mention that the person had to get out of his/her vehicle to place the seed there–which is another violation of refuge rules. And from a bird feeding standpoint, I thought that if you were going to provide feed for birds, it should be done continuously (especially in winter) and not just once now and then because they come to rely on the food source. So while the person surely had good intentions here, it probably wasn’t the best idea for the welfare of the birds. However, I got a ‘so-so’ shot of a Fox Sparrow, a bird I haven’t photographed for a couple years! Canon 5DMark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (12:38)
Here are a couple of Belted Kingfisher shots. Canon 5DMark III, 1/500, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (1:25)
And in the woods I spot these two curious ‘coons inside of a hollowed out dead snag. Canon 5DMark III, 1/500, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (1:36)
That wraps it up for this session of The Blog. Take care and we’ll see you next time!