As I recall, Feb. 8 at the Ridgefield NWR was very dreary and dark (I’m writing this about 6 weeks later). It was another one of those high ISO days. All the photos I’m posting today were taken at either ISO 800 or 1600, except for the nutria shot, which was shot at ISO400. Of the 12 remaining high to higher ISO shots, 6 of these were taken with flash and the other six were not. As I introduce the shots, see if you can guess which six were taken with flash (not counting the Nutria).
The first shot today is of a Nutria, a pest that has plagued the refuge for years. This pictured animal is likely no longer with us as I write this because (I was told the other day) that refuge management went out and exterminated many of these animals a couple of weeks ago. In a way it’s sad but they really are just big rats and apparently do more harm than good. This was my first shot of the day and the sun had barely made its mark when I spotted this critter near post #2. I don’t typically photograph Nutria but this one was so close (the shot is not cropped) I thought I’d test my flash/better beamer combo out in very low light. The black background is water which was not illuminated by the flash. (8:19 a.m.)
[Click on the thumbnails to see larger views of the images].
I’m now positioned near the Kiwa Trail entrance where a Hooded Merganser pair has been holed up for quite a few weeks now. These two shots are taken at 1600 ISO. They aren’t technically great quality but given the lack of light and the high ISO setting, I think Lightroom 4 did a marvelous job at managing the noise level. (9:26)
I believe this next bird is a Pacific Wren. It barely stuck its head out long enough for me to get a shot. Cute little bugger though! (10:39)
This is the mate to the Hooded Merganser pictured above. This was taken at ISO 800. (10:52)
A handsome Spotted Towhee poses for me on a sticker bush. (11:17)
In the Ash tree forest and off to the right with water as a background, here’s a cute little spring Song Sparrow. (11:34)
A little too far away for my taste, this Bufflehead was still really pretty to watch. I almost didn’t post this but I like these guys a lot. In the water near post #10. (11:47)
It’s tough to not spot a coyote at Ridgefield these days. This beautiful animal came very close and was quite cooperative. (11:55)
A pair of Northern Shovelers were also cooperative and made little effort to paddle away. The male was taken at ISO 800 and the female at ISO 1600. (12:07 p.m.)
Were you able to guess which shots I used flash on? Here’s the answer. I used limited fill flash on the two male Merganser shots, the Towhee, the Bufflehead, and the two Shovelers. I took less than 90 frames on my photo shoot today due to the poor weather. Flight shots were out of the question. Hopefully, you liked some of the shots anyway!
I have a video from my Feb. 3 photo shoot that I loaded into Lightroom 4 and tried out some of the tools available there. Version 4 is the first version to support video. This is a behavioral clip of an American Bittern performing its instinctive swaying motion where it attempts to resemble blades of grass blowing in the wind. I was only about 25 feet from the bird and unfortunately, I overexposed the video a little. (Guess I wasn’t used to that bright sun we had that day! 🙂 ). I was able to correct the overexposure in Lightroom 4 which turned out well. It’s only a minute long. [Viewing full screen, I had to change the quality setting to 720p or 1080p HD].
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time on The Blog!