Hi, everyone! I’m back for the Nov. 13, 2013, version of my Ridgefield NWR wildlife photo shoot. Today again, I’m shooting a mix of all three of my possible focal lengths: 500mm, 700mm (with 1.4x), and 1000mm (with 2x). I’m finding that, if I have adequate light and I’m not shooting flight shots, I lean toward wanting to have one of the two extenders on, rather than shoot at the bare 500mm. But on dark days, I tend to leave off the extenders so I don’t have to push the ISO over 2500. I typically shoot at 1/1000 or faster to reduce chances of motion blur if a subject suddenly takes flight. Occasionally, if a bird is sitting real still, like the owl you’ll see below, I’ll slow the shutter speed down to gain a more favorable ISO setting.
The weather today is really nice–some overcast but still fairly bright. Almost perfect shooting conditions.
Let’s start with a shot of a Sandhill Crane. I’m still waiting to catch one of these closer than 150 feet away. Most cranes know not to forage anywhere near the road we drive on at Ridgefield. I started out the day using the bare 500mm since it’s still slightly dark at sun up. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (8:13 a.m.)
[Please click once on the thumbnails to view a larger version of the image! Thanks!]
This is the first of many Red-tailed Hawk shots I came home with today. Here’s one on a refuge sign. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (9:18 a.m)
A Sandhill Crane flies pretty close to my truck, but not close enough for a stellar shot! Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (9:24 a.m.)
Speaking of Red-tailed Hawks, this one was perched at the top of a tree about 120 feet away. It was there most times I made the loop around the auto tour. Several times I watched it fly and swoop down on some ducks in the marsh then bank left and fly to the tree 400 feet behind me. Following this image are 4 more shots of the same bird. This first one is just prior to the action. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (9:51 a.m.)
This one time it strayed from its usual routine and flew right at me. Here’s a 4 shot series of this action. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (9:52 a.m.)
Wings up for take off!
Just leaving the branch.
Pure concentration! (Maybe he doesn’t like Canon lenses??)
Now I’m sure he doesn’t like Canon lenses! All four of these shots were taken within one second.
This Great Egret was just off the side of the road with its hair blowing in the wind. Within 25 feet I’d say. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1250, 500mm. (10:31 a.m.)
This is a different egret from the one above. This one wasn’t nearly as close. It had caught a vole and must have picked it up, flipped it around, and scrunched it in its bill for about five minutes before it finally got consumed. I was lucky to get a profile shot of the action. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1250, 500mm. (10:41 a.m.)
And another RTH in the tree near marker #4. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1000, 500mm. (10:41 a.m.)
And yet another RTH from about 80 feet just past marker #11. I liked that it was perched fairly low to the ground. And a switch to 700mm. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f5.6, ISO 1250, 700mm. (11:58 a.m.)
I believe these are Long-billed Dowitchers but I could easily be wrong. They were in the marsh about 70 feet away from the road. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 1600, 700mm. (12:49 p.m.)
Three hours later I’m back at the favorite tree of Mr. RTH. He doesn’t appear to be any happier to see me this time than when he flew at me earlier! Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f7.1, ISO 1000, 700mm. (1:02 p.m.)
Some dowitchers taking a siesta just prior to the photo blind parking lot area. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f8, ISO 1000, 700mm. (1:10 p.m.)
Here’s what I think is my best owl shot to date. About 80 feet away and only 10 feet off the ground. Every once in a while things go just right. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/400, f5.6, ISO 1000, 700mm. (2:11 p.m.)
And a couple shots of a Lesser Yellowlegs by chance? The bill looks a little shorter than I’m used to seeing. And a switch to 1000mm. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f8, ISO 1000, 1000mm. (2:21 p.m.)
And you guessed it–back to the tree with the RTH ornament on top! Now we have some sun and blue sky allowing me to stop down to f11. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f11, ISO 1000, 1000mm. (2:51 p.m.)
Here’s a close up profile shot. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f11, ISO 1250, 1000mm. (2:52 p.m.)
A close up stare. He’s probably thinking, “Oh, you again?” Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f11, ISO 1250, 1000mm. (2:53 p.m.)
To finish things off for today, a Mallard is basking in the setting sun. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f8, ISO 2000, 1000mm. (4:10 p.m.)
Well I had some fun raptor shots today and the weather was really great. I was quite pleased with the owl and the hawk action series. Hope to see you all next time on The Blog!