I made another afternoon trip up to the Ridgefield NWR today knowing that the weather would probably not cooperate. None of the days this week looked very good weather-wise so I just picked one. I arrived just a little past noon and stayed until about 5:30 p.m. The first three hours were actually not bad with some good partial sun breaks. But the remainder was just plain rain. This was one of those days when the truck windows had to come up to keep from soaking the inside of the vehicle. My camera/lens sleeve came in real handy today, giving me worry free shooting even when the rain was pouring. Anyway, I gave it the old college try but still came up real short on decent shots.
For those not aware, visitors to the refuge are required to stay in their vehicles on the 4-mile auto tour for the fall through spring months. This makes shooting in the rain fairly comfortable with basically just camera gear to keep dry.
My most successful shot of the day came right away at about 12:30 when I passed post #5 and was staring at this pretty coyote on my left. He was so close I couldn’t fit him in the frame.
I then got a couple of heron shots. This is a youngster, I believe.
As I approach post #11, I come across our resident Peregrine Falcon perched on the tree to the left, really too far for the reach of my 400mm lens. Still, I had to take some frames. Here is a heavily cropped shot of this beautiful bird just after stretching its wings.
Speaking of this Peregrine Falcon, I was at the Ridgefield NWR Birdfest celebration today (Oct. 8 ) and got to meet and talk to several of the local refuge shooters. One, Craig Strand, showed me (along with my wife, daughter, and my brother, who were all with me) his recent shot of this falcon perched in one of the “three trees.” An unbelievable portrait of this beauty, probably not more than 50 feet away and perfect light. I now know where I will be looking for this bird in the future! Here is a link to this awesome picture: http://www.craigstrandphotography.com/p43834098/h2e76226e#h2e76226e . My shot of the falcon is terrible in comparison but it’s all I have for now!
On my last loop of the tour, I spotted a flock of Goldfinches in a patch of teasel and took some shots. It was dark and rainy and I had to use flash to get at least some light. All the birds were very busy feeding and constantly moving. So I ended up with very few focused shots. Here’s one that came out ok.
I mentioned earlier that I was at the Ridgefield Birdfest celebration today. One reason I went was to be at the Friends of Ridgefield 2011 photo contest award ceremony. I had entered one shot in the competition (the maximum allowed for non-members of the Friends group), and I was told several weeks ago that it had been selected as one of the finalists in the competition. Here is the photo I entered.
It turns out that this photo won 3rd place in the contest! I was elated and honored to be in the company of many wonderful photos. My congratulations go to Craig Strand for taking 1st place with a super close up of a heron swallowing a snake, tail first. The head of the snake was extended out of the bird’s bill–amazing! Also, congratulations goes to my brother, Gary, who took 2nd place with a stunning shot of a gosling. It can be viewed at this link on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shotsbygary/5661934287/. Congratulations also go to the nine honorable mention photos, making up the 12 finalists.
A short and sweet blog entry this time. Hoping things pick up soon at the refuge!