Monthly Archives: November 2014

Bird of the Week – Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

nightheron

I love it when something pleasantly unexpected happens when I am out photographing wildlife. I have a few local places that I visit frequently as they are close and often have interesting subjects, both scenery and wildlife. One such place is the East River Preserve in Guilford, Connecticut. If you arrive at the Bear House Hill Road extension off Goose Lane, it’s easy to head over the bridge and go straight or left, arriving at the big field (I call it “Foote’s Field” after the Foote Family Cemetery that is adjacent to the field, although I know of no formal name for it.) However, if one takes a right immediately after the bridge, the trail parallels the East River for a hundred yards or so. There are often birds in or near the water, including herons, egrets, and ospreys.

On September 22, I arrived early in the morning, when the sun had not risen enough to light most of the area. I was treated to the sight of a green heron hunting from the logs and the phragmites by the river. There was little light, but I was able to capture a few good portraits. After about ten minutes, I took a look around to see what else might be in the area. Further east (east as the river flows) I spied a large bird in a tree. As I swiveled the lens to get a better look, it took flight towards me. Everything happened quickly; too quickly for me to track and compose an image, and in my mind I was sure the bird would continue right past once it saw me. It did, but only about 15 yards before coming to rest on a tree that was toppled into the river. It walked down the tree towards the water then pivoted, walked back up the trunk, and took off. However, it had stayed long enough for me to snap a bunch of images. The one you see here is the one I like best. I absolutely love the eyes and feathers on this bird, a juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. While it’s not entirely unknown here in Connecticut, it is not nearly as common as some of the other members of the heron and egret family. It was a satisfying moment, particularly given that the bird came to me for a change.

Photo information:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon 600mm f/4L II IS

ISO 800, f/4.0, 1/200 second

Happy Thanksgiving

turkey

Connecticut is blessed with large numbers of wild turkeys, blissfully doing their bit to control the tick populations. This hen was photographed in August, working a local field in Guilford, Connecticut. Enjoy the holiday!

Photo information:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

600mm f/4L II

ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Bird of the Week – Sub-adult Bald Eagle

eagle-subadult

This photograph is an example of the serendipity that seems to increase in frequency the more time one spends in the outdoors. I left home quite early on a Saturday morning with the intention of photographing waterfalls at Enders State Forest near the town border between Granby and Barkhamsted, Connecticut. I managed to record a few good images that will be the subject of another post.

The day started clear, but things gradually clouded over and within an hour of sunrise, the skies were totally gray. My other goal was to try for some fall foliage shots along the Farmington River and I proceeded there from Enders State Forest, ending up near People’s State Forest. I was setting up for some wide angle shots of the river when I saw a large bird fly past me and land in a tree on the other side of the river and approximately 100 yards north of my position. I quickly switched to a long telephoto and hiked up the road to a spot across from the pine where the bird was perched. It was a rather dense tree and it took me awhile to find a position where I could set up that also allowed an unobstructed view of what I realized was a sub-adult bald eagle. The light was very flat and dark due to the cloud cover and the eagle was not interested in moving to allow an in-flight shot. This portrait was the best I could capture. While it will not win any awards, I thought it a good image to share as many of us have never seen a “teenage” bald eagle. This one is likely three years old and within a couple years will have the familiar brown and white plumage with yellow beak that we all recognize.

Photo information:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon 600mm f/4L IS II with 1.4x TC, effective focal length 840mm

ISO 1250, f/5.6, 1/320 second

Foote’s Field Sentinel

sentinel

I have been captivated by this tree for years. It sits in the middle of a field at the East River Preserve in Guilford, Connecticut. I hike with my dog in the preserve at least once per week and love all the moods of the preserve through the year. I have been trying, with little success, to record a moment that captures the special affinity that I have for that tree. Because of where it sits in the field, and the surrounding forests, bordering the field on all sides, it is extremely difficult to isolate the tree in an image in the same way it is isolated in the field.

In early November, I spent an afternoon scouting the field yet again. I finally found a vantage that would isolate the tree and capture the exceptional early morning light. On November 5th, I arrived before sunrise, set up, and waited. I recorded over fifty images, with the light and clouds constantly shifting. This is the one I like most.

For the photographers out there and anyone else who might be interested, the exposure data is as follows:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, 22mm, f/13, 1/15th sec.

Tripod and remote release employed