A couple of days ago a good friend of mine asked if I had any long lenses I would like to sell. After asking a couple of questions I found out that they had an eagle spending a lot of time in a tree near their home and she wanted to Photograph it.
I gave her my recommendation and so she purchased the lens and then wanted to meet yesterday at the Hurstville Interpretive Center. Jeanne and I drove down to the Center and met with her and her husband (who is a dear friend of mine.) The lens is complicated and somewhat overwhelming to a new user. So we all drove over to the “Duck Pond” and as luck would have it there were 9 Trumpeter Swans in the water. They were pretty far away as you can see in the above image, however it was good practice for her to get to know and get comfortable with her new lens.
As we visited and took several images of the swans I decided to put my camera and lens back in the truck. I kept noticing that the swans were getting closer the longer we were there. So I went back to the truck and got my camera and once again started taking some images.
Then as if they had decided among themselves it was time to leave they started taking off in unison. I was so glad I had my camera ready for their departure. You can click on any of the images to make a larger version of the image which contains much more detail.
I had my 600 mm lens on the Nikon D4S, which has an incredibly fast frame rate so in a sort span of a few seconds I had close to a hundred images on my card.
And then they were gone. We said our farewells to our friends and decided to see if we could relocate the swans but they were no where to be found. It was a fun afternoon and I hope my friend gets as much enjoyment out of her new long lens as I have with mine.
Today I am headed out to the wild life preserve at Green Island. A photographer I know posted some great images from last weekend so I think I’ll see if I can find something interesting.
As the sign indicates I took a trip down to Green Island Wildlife Preserve yesterday. I had very low expectations as this is not the best time of the year to visit the preserve, the weather was cold, gray, and cloudy so I fully expected to come back with an empty memory card.
While none of my images are outstanding in any way, I am always happy to photograph a Bald Eagle. Even if he has his back to me and is a long way off. I just love to watch these magnificent creatures.
I also found some Trumpeter Swans at the preserve. Here is an adult with three signets. There was an abundance of swans at the lake as well but too far away to photograph. I enjoyed listening to the sounds they make.
The ever-present Canada geese are always fun to watch and photograph.
It occurred to me that many people who follow this blog have never been to the Green Island Preserve. So I shot this short video to give you some idea of what it is like. Perhaps I’ll do that again in the Spring when there is an abundance of wildlife and migratory birds in the area.
Happy TGI Friday for all my friends who are still working.
After I finished up my photo shoot in Maquoketa yesterday, I decided to drive out past the Duck Pond. This is what I found on my way out-of-town. This was a corn field that hadn’t done very well and had been chopped into silage. It was flooded and a family of Trumpeter swans were picking corn off the ground. This is the male of the family. I was surprised at how close they let me get to them. I guess the pickings were better than their fear of me. Especially because I stayed in my car.
I was happy to see the four young signets from this past season. The dad kept a close eye on me while the others continued to feed.
Farther away across the field (lake) was another family of swans with three signets. I couldn’t get all four of them in the shot. Interestingly as I went past the Duck Pond it was a full of water as I can ever remember and not one species of wildlife was in it.
About one hundred yards down the road was this cornfield under water. I certainly feel bad for the farmers of the area. They work so hard getting the ground ready, planting, maintaining. Have a reasonably good growing season and then when it’s time to harvest their crop this happens. Difficult lively hood. We are grateful for them.
I am working today as we have our annual stockholder meeting this afternoon. In fact I will have a 4 day work week because of benefit meetings later in the week. I know you feel sorry for me. 🙂
I have three images today. Yesterday I decided that no matter what, I was going to make some images. I was originally thinking of just running down to the river but I have not had much success there in recent memory. So I opted for the longer drive to the Green Island Wildlife Preserve.
When I first got there it felt like I had made a mistake because I wasn’t seeing anything other then a few ubiquitous geese. The deeper into the preserve I went the more I found and ended up with 1,047 images. Not that hard to do at 12 fps. 🙂
My friend Andreas had posted sometime ago, on his blog, about a pair of Trumpeter Swans that given birth to seven Cygnets. Wonderful to see and truthfully I had forgotten about them. I stumbled on them quite by accident. I couldn’t believe how close they let me get. The parents acted like I was no threat to them (which of course I was not) and so they swam right past me even though I was firing off lots of shots.
I saw a variety of wildlife that I will share over the coming days as time permits. One thing I did see that I didn’t photograph was a black snake. Most of you know about me and snakes. He was crossing the road and I drove up closer to him but was proud of myself for not trying to run over him. I thought about it but he wasn’t doing me any harm so I let him pass.
I made a mental note to myself that I should probably stay in the car. It’s easier to approach wildlife from the confines of the car. They don’t seem to mind it as much as if I get out of the car. Lucky for me. 🙂
That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Enjoy your day and be careful.
Almost every morning when I come into town headed for work I come by the “Duck Pond” and for the last few days there has been a variety of wildlife there. I assume they spent the night at the pond as a respite before continuing their journey South. So I have three images for you today.
Even though I was running just a little later than normal when I saw these two Trumpeter Swans and their 4 signets I had to pull over and capture an image of them. The light was still fairly soft and the pond was calm so I ripped off 165 images trying to capture one that had all six of them in the same frame. They were not very cooperative.
It’s been a challenging week at work and I have not had the opportunity to do much photography. It may sound silly but when I stopped for that brief moment and photographed the Swans I felt a peace and enjoyment that I had not experienced all week.
As it is in life the Mother stayed pretty close to the four young ones while the Father led the group and many times got ahead of them, but always looking back to make sure there was no danger or anyone getting left behind. 🙂
I was really happy to see this bunch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this large of a swan family before.
That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Enjoy your day and be careful.
I received an email from Jessi who is the Naturalist at the Interpretative Center in Maquoketa earlier in the week, asking me if I had by chance photographed any of the 10 – 20 Trumpeter Swans that had visited the marsh over the last few days. Sadly I had to tell her that I had not. Most of the time I go by the marsh I haven’t seen anything except perhaps a few Canadian Geese and of course it’s too dark on my home commute to photograph anything.
So yesterday my friend Steve and I had lunch and I suggested to him that I’d like to go check out a few places to see if I could find something to photograph. Right after we ate we headed out and ended up at the Marsh. To my surprise and delight there were five Trumpeters there. Two adults and three juveniles.
It was great to see three fully grown juveniles with their parents. My assumption is they were on a rest break from their journey South and were spending a few hours at the Hurstville Marsh. I didn’t have a lot of time to photograph them and I’m embarrassed to tell you what I did, but it is a good lesson to learn.
I put the Nikon D750 into burst mode so I could capture multiple images of the swans in case they decided to fly. I could only get sometimes 3 images, sometimes 4, and sometimes 7 or more but never just rip them off like I am used to. I thought what is wrong with this camera? The D750 has a pretty decent buffer and I can usually get 20 – 30 images before the buffer fills.
I didn’t have time to think much about it because we had to get back to work but when I downloaded the images it became apparent what the problem was. Apparently the last time I had shot with the D750 I had been shooting HDR and had the camera set up to take a series of 5 one stop bracketed shots. I might take a single shot or two and then press and hold the shutter and get three more rapid shots, then nothing, or I might get a full 5 shots. Good lesson learned, note to self, when your finish shooting reset the camera back to the normal shooting mode. 🙂
That’s it for today. Hope you enjoy your day. Thanks for stopping by the blog and be careful.
Yesterday was one of those rare days when I had no lunch meeting nor engagement so when that happens I grab my camera and head out to see what I can find. It was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies, puffy clouds, and low humidity. In other words, perfect!
I actually started out looking for a farm scene to shoot. After several miles of driving without finding anything that caught my interest I decided to stop by the duck pond.
The duck pond has been a little disappointing for me this year. Very little activity of late. There were a couple of swans on the far side of the pond but it would have been impossible to get close enough to get a shot. So I thought I would go across the highway to the other marsh. There hasn’t been much there this year either but I was pleasantly surprised to see this pair of Trumpeter Swans rooting around in the grass.
All of a sudden they both started flapping their wings and headed right for me into the water. Like they decided they should pose for me. 🙂
After posing I guess they decided they needed to primp a little so they climbed up on this dead tree and started grooming themselves.
Camera specs: Nikon D610 | Nikon 80-400 mm lens | ISO 400 1/800 sec @ f8.0 | Manfrotto tripod / ball head
Yes I actually took the time to set up the tripod. I haven’t had very good results trying to shoot the 80 – 400 mm lens hand-held so I decided to put it on a tripod and I was happy with the results. It was good to see the swans again up close. They didn’t seem to mind me at all and swam very close to me from time to time.
I spent about 20 minutes photographing them and it was a great way to spend my lunch break.
That’s it for today. I hope you enjoy your mid-week hump day. Thanks for stopping by and be careful.