Today belongs to the Goose. I like to watch them and additionally I think they are a neat bird to photograph. I enjoy the way they always fly in pairs. Always have a wing man. The sad thing about this image is all the debris and junk lying around.
I enjoy the 16th street pond but there are some serious junk issues there. From plastic bags just below the surface of the water to the ever-present been can. Lots and lots of junk all around the pond area.
Even a tennis ball or maybe it’s one of those stress balls. But in many areas around the pond the junk is a serious problem. Fortunately for the wildlife and the photographers there are also a lot of pristine areas around the pond. I’ll admit I’m not the best at putting trash in the proper place. My kids have tried to teach me their entire lives. But it really is sad to see all this trash in this wonderful habitat area.
Like i said though there are places where the pond is just pristine. The Saturday and Sunday I was there I saw Herons, Eagles, Gulls, Ducks, and Geese. I think I said in one of my earlier posts that it is like watching a busy metropolitan airport.
The wildlife are constantly coming and going, interacting, and searching for something to eat. Fun place to visit, to just sit and watch the goings on. I might have to try somewhere else this weekend but I’m just as likely to end up back for a few hours too.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Hump Day experience. Be careful.
If you’ve followed this blog for very long you know I enjoy capturing images of Ducks. Any type of duck is fine but I really like the coloration of the green headed Mallard.
I sat for two hours Sunday just watching some of these guys play. They are very quick and it’s like watching lemmings. In the first image the ducks took turns climbing out of the water on to this rock and then back into the water. They would go around the outer rock and come back and repeat the entire process again. They did this for 20 minutes until one of the ducks didn’t get back into the water and then they did something else.
This couple walked up and down the shore line several times quacking all the way. The female duck would waddle and quack and then the guy would respond. I won’t say another word about any similarities to life. 🙂
Ducks are usually one of the smallest birds at the pond with the exception of the gulls from yesterday. They are also plentiful. The Geese, who are roughly twice as big get along with the ducks and pretty much pay no attention to them.
Finally I’ll leave you with a demonstration of assertive behavior. There was a male Mallard paying a bit too much attention the the female duck of this airborne duck. There were words exchanged and then a little nipping at the buttocks ending up in this chasing away the potential suitor.
Once the rival was out of the picture this little guy got back to his business with his lady friend. I could sit and watch these guys for hours. Wait a minute, that ‘s what I did this weekend. 🙂
Three days and no eagles. Oh I have eagles, I’m just showing you all the wonderful wildlife that is just a couple of miles away. It’s a great place to visit.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Tuesday. Be careful.
I thought about going to Green Island on Sunday after my conversation with Andreas on Saturday. But I didn’t want to drive all the way down there with a lens that I didn’t trust. So I opted for the 16th street pond instead.
Busy as usual with the assorted ducks, geese, one lone Heron, some gulls and two eagles. I really couldn’t get close enough to the eagle to shoot him today. So I just tried different focusing opportunities with the gulls, ducks and geese.
There were a lot of Ring Billed Gulls around the pond today. Kind of unusual for them to be there in any numbers. I like shooting gulls because they are always busy and exploring. It is also very good practice for shooting flying birds because they are small and hard to focus on.
This little guy was all over the place looking for something to eat. He didn’t seem to mind me as he came pretty close from time to time. He was the only gull that actually got close enough to me to make an image of.
I had pretty good luck with the lens today. Unfortunately it would fail about 30% of the time. It wouldn’t focus at times and other times it would just lock up and I would have to shut the camera off. Problem is I never knew when it was going to fail. There were times when I had a shot I wanted and nothing just a blurry view finder.
I’ll call the camera company in the morning and probably go back to a Tamron. At least it worked all the time. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Monday and be careful.
I had a lot of fun yesterday. I was anxious to test the latest lens replacement so I loaded up and went to my new favorite place over on 16th street by the river. As usual there were some eagles sitting on the ice (which had receded a lot) and a number of other wildlife coming and going. It’s like a busy airport with arrivals and departures happening all the time.
The first image is of a group of Blue Herons. I didn’t see them when I first arrived at the pond. It was not until I moved to the South side of the pond that they became evident to me.
The guy above was sitting in the shadows of a large group of trees that protect the West side of the pond. I had to bump the ISO up a bit to get an image of him. I had never seen a Blue Heron scrunched down like this before. In fact when I first saw him I was sure what he was. 🙂
I had some issues with the lens but I have some ideas about what the problem may be. I’ll test it again today and see if my theory is correct. With all the activity at the pond it was just a delight to sit and watch the interaction.
Andreas stopped by for a few moments as he was on his way to Green Island. He is such a nice guy and has a real passion for photography. There were a few other photographers who came and went much like the birds.
Then to top off the evening Angie called to see if I would like to join them for dinner. Jeanne was in Ames visiting her Mother and Angie knew I was batching it. So we had a good time with Ben, Josh, Nick (Ben’s brother) and Angie. Missed my shooting partner though. Glad she could spend some time with her Mother.
Enjoy your Sunday and thanks for stopping by. Be careful.
I don’t like snow much, especially when I have to drive in, on, and through it. But yesterday’s snow was one of those wet fluffy snows that sticks to everything and makes for some beautiful scenic images of an otherwise pretty drab environment.
So I braved the falling snow, stuck the camera out the back patio door and captured this image of our neighbor’s back yard. The neat thing about their back yard is that it is just beautiful to look at and I don’t have to do all the work. 🙂
I knew that I wouldn’t have time to take any landscape images on the way to work because I was already running on the edge. I also figured that when my lunch hour came most of the snow would be off the trees. So the above image was all I was able to get.
The new replacement lens came in Thursday so I’m off today to put it through its paces. Hopefully this one will not fail. The only other alternative that I know of is to buy a Nikon 500 mm lens. They start at about $6,000. Even if I had that type of resources to invest in a lens I’m not sure I could make myself spend that much money on one lens. I like so many different types of photography so a long lens while a wonderful tool is not the center point of my photographic interests.
Anyway as long as Adorama continues to offer me replacement lenses I’ll keep hoping for one that works. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Saturday and be careful.
I promised no eagles on today’s post and so I will show you some random images that I took during last weekend with the exception of the one above. This is actually one I shot Tuesday evening after work. I like the image for two reasons. One it was light enough at 5:15 pm to make this image at ISO 200. And I like the sky and sunset that center around the tree.
Saturday at the pond in Dubuque I was sitting on the down hill-side of the bank and pretty close to the water (well actually the ice) when these three ducks came walking by. They didn’t seem to mind me being there and were undeterred in their search for bits of food.
I like the way the sun shown on their feet and made them a really bright orange. The male Mallard’s head looked royal blue sometimes depending on how the light struck his head.
Finally this pair of swans were there for an hour or so. I had never seen a banded swan before. It looks rather uncomfortable on his neck. I couldn’t get close enough to him to see any markings on the band.
Pretty close to the time the sun was going down the swans started water walking and then took off. They flew a sweeping circle over the pond and then headed towards the river.
I tried to capture their flight but the low light caused my shutter speed to be slow so I got nothing but white blobs.
That’s it for today. Enjoy your Thursday. Hope we don’t get too much snow. Thanks for stopping by and be careful.
Okay I promise tomorrow no more eagle pictures. I won’t promise for how long because Thursday my 3rd replacement lens comes in and that means Saturday and Sunday I’ll be back in search of eagles. But at least tomorrow sans eagles.
However I will finish up with the battle for food between the three eagles from yesterday’s post. For all his huff and puffiness the eagle on the left became pretty tame for a while, especially after the other two gave him a couple of wing clips to the noggin,
After a brief res-bit and some posturing things took a dramatic turn in favor of the intruder. One of the trade offs for 11 fps is the buffer fills up pretty quick and then I have to wait for the camera to write a RAW file to the card and empty some of the buffer.
So this is the last image of the scuffle and then I had to wait for the buffer to clear. You can see by the image below that some stuff happened between images. 🙂
Yes he was successful in getting some of the food from the other two eagles. What I cannot show you is that in a few minutes a juvenile showed up and pretty much cleaned house. At least he grabbed the food and successfully fended off the three adults.
Great fun for Jeanne and I to watch all this. It was reasonably mild temperature wise and the light was beautiful. Anytime I can watch eagles in nature it is a wonderful time for me. The opportunity to photograph them is just a real blessing.
Enjoy your Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by and be careful.
These images are from last Saturday’s shoot. It was late in the day and we were losing the light so my shutter speed was slower than it needed to be. As a result some of the action images below may be too soft for the purest among you but they do tell a story.
The two eagles above are preparing to defend the food stuff they have acquired. What you can’t see in this images is what has them all in uproar.
I watched this eagle circling around the two on the ice and it looked like he was very interested in what they had to eat. I’m not sure if he intended to try to hit the eagles or was just trying to make a good show of it but he came in too high and too fast.
He hit the ice hard and the ice shards flew as he kept on moving. I really couldn’t see the look on his face but I would have thought he was thinking “damn I messed that landing up.” 🙂
He kicked up a lot of ice particles and did about a 90 degree turn on the ice. It was pretty funny, which is why the camera was probably shaking a bit.
He finally came to a stop on the ice about 3 -4 feet away from his enemy. You can see the ice particles still being kicked up by his talons digging into the ice for traction. It took him a couple of seconds to compose himself and get himself ready for battle.
There was a pretty good tussle that ensued. I captured most of it (that is the beauty of the D3 and its 11 fps burst.) The bad news is the shutter speed was so slow that it just looks like brown and white blobs mushing together.
Fully composed now and ready to go after the food he musters his most fearsome pose and starts at the other two eagles in the first image. Of course he lost his footing a couple of time before he got there but it was a pretty good fight for a while.
The one I really wished I could show you was when these three adults took on one juvenile and got it handed to them.
A few more eagle pictures coming. In case your interested I had a good conversation with Adorama today. They put another lens out for shipping to me today and apologized profusely. I suppose it is possible they had a bad defect in one of their production runs. A special thank you to Andreas for taking the time to give me some ideas about what might have caused the problem. He has an engineering background so his suggestions and thoughts were very helpful and I thank him for that.
We’ll see as the saga continues. Stay tuned.
By the way you can click on any of the images to enlarge them. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Tuesday and be careful.
Another beautiful day for photography yesterday. I thought about going to LD # 14 again but I received an e-mail from Burt and he said there were no eagles there. So I decided to go our lock and dam instead.
First stop was at the 14th street stream. Lots of Mallards there today and there were some young children standing on the bridge with their parents throwing bread crumbs. The image above shows how much the ducks and geese were enjoying the free meal.
I shot about 100 images at the pond. I originally started out with the 50 – 500 mm lens on the D700 but I couldn’t get it to focus sharply on anything. Everything I took looked soft. So I put it back on the D3 and everything looked great.
After about 45 minutes of shooting Mallards I decided to go over to the lock and dam.
There were a lot of people there and it didn’t take long to see why there was a crowd. There was one eagle sitting at the top of a tree in full view. He didn’t seem to mind all the people coming close to him. This is the closest I’ve ever come to an eagle.
There was another one sitting in a tree a little South of him but he was really hidden by the branches. I then went back to the body of water where we found the eagles Saturday and they were there again. I was very excited because there were two eagles on the ice and two flying over head looking for fish.
I got the camera set up and started to take some images and it happened again. The damn lens froze up. It was like the focusing motor was fried. Couldn’t get it to work with either camera. Ugh!!! The flying eagles were very close too. 😦
I tried the lens again last night before going to be and it is toast. It won’t focus or make any type of movement. I’m done with Sigma products. My only other alternative is Tamron. <Sigh>
Enjoy your Monday. Thanks for stopping by and be careful.
Jeanne and I had some fun yesterday afternoon. I wanted to go out and test the latest lens from Sigma to see if I was going to have to send it back. For the most part it performed well and most if not all of the trashed images were as a result of faulty technique on my part or improper camera settings (also my fault.)
We started out about 3:45 pm and I was not looking for eagles. I just wanted to do some test shooting with the Sigma 50 – 500. What we found instead was a group of 5 eagles sitting on the ice trying to share some food. They actually do not play well together when there is food involved. 🙂
I like the first image (even though it is a little soft) because instead of flying over to the fish laying on the ice this eagle did the slip and slide walk over to the fish.
He raised his head a couple of times and the fish was gone. I realize this is not a well composed image but I wanted to include the ducks in the picture. Unfortunately the ducks were looking one direction and the eagle the other.
It wasn’t long until some buddies showed up to share in some of the other food that was on the ice. There was a lot of eagle talk and a lot of action as well. There were some spectacular fight scenes that I captured between three older eagles and a juvenile. Unfortunately by this time my shutter speed was down 1/60 sec (even at ISO 800) so I got a lot of bury black and brown blobs. Once during the tussle the juvenile was on his back about 8 inches off the ground locking talons with the mature eagle on top. I wish I could show you that image. 😦
I shot 820 images (of course with the 11 fps burst rate of the D3 that is an easy thing to do) and of those I kept 200, which isn’t too bad. Of those 200 maybe half will make the second cut but all things considered including all the mistakes I made I’m very happy with the way the lens performed. I just hope it doesn’t freeze up in cold weather like the other one did.
If you like eagle pictures stop by tomorrow and most of the week for that matter. If not (I’m sorry) because that’s what I have a lot of to process for a while.
Enjoy your Sunday. Thanks for stopping by and be careful.