Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bird of the Week – Green Heron in SC

greenheron-SC (1 of 2)

I have faltered quite badly at generating the “Bird of the Week” postings. I can’t say that’s going to change, but I will do them as time permits. This bird was a neat find. My kids and I met my brother and his wife in the Lowcountry of South Carolina to spend a couple days before retreating to my brother’s home in the Asheville area for the reminder of the kids’ spring break from school. We took a boat ride for an afternoon (highly recommended) with fellow photographer Eric Horan. We saw a great many interesting and exciting things.

What attracted me to this heron was that it was pure chance that we even saw it. I happened to glance across the waterway we were passing through and looked up a small inlet. The heron was tucked in there and I could barely even discern it, so much so that I thought that it was a bittern at first. Eric wheeled around and as we got closer, I snapped the image above. The bird flew across the waterway and landed on the dead branch/stump shown below, where it remained for a minute or so before disappearing for good.

I love the green on the backs of this species. It’s a color I find particularly appealing.

I will post more about the boat trip in future, but I cannot recommend it highly enough. Eric is a wonderful host and there are a ton of things to see.

greenheron-SC (2 of 2)

Photograph information:

Both images:

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM + Extender EF 1.4x III
  • ISO 1000, f/8, 1/1000 secs. @ 560mm
  • handheld

 

Death Valley Part Three

milkyway

This is a slightly different post about Death Valley. As is self-evident, this image is of the night sky. I must issue a full disclaimer that I have never done any night sky photography prior to this shot, save for one set of a handful of exposures in Connecticut that were badly affected by the stray light that is prevalent in CT’s night skies. Also, I have much to learn about post processing of night sky photographs. With all that said, you cannot go to Death Valley without marveling at the incredible brightness of the skies after dark. There are simply stars everywhere. Death Valley is considered one of the places with the darkest night skies that you can find. To give a sense of what it’s like, I awoke one morning in my tent, with only the mesh opening above me obscuring my view, as well as my poor vision without my glasses, and even without my glasses, I could clearly discern the Big Dipper above me through the mesh. It’s simply incredible!

Getting back to this image, I went up to Twenty Mule Team Canyon Road very early one morning to climb the hills there to get some sunrise shots (see Death Valley Part One). This was about one hour before sunrise, looking east/southeast. The brightness on the lower left of the horizon is the sun getting in position, but still over an hour prior to actual sunrise. The Milky Way is visible where the horizon rises on the right and moving across and to the left of the frame. It continued fully across the sky. What is shown here is but a small portion and this is with a 14mm extreme wide angle lens! Again, I will point out that my post-processing skills for shots of this type need to be enhanced!

Photograph information:

  • Sony A7r
  • Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens (Canon EF mount with Metabones IV adapter)
  • f/2.8 @ 21 secs., ISO 1600
  • Tripod and remote release employed

Death Valley Part Two

furnacecrk

I enjoy searching for and finding images that represent a more abstract take on a scene. These can be the result of unusual light, colors, forms, textures or combinations of these characteristics. After shooting the image included in the first Death Valley post, I stopped at the Zabriskie Point parking area and took a few shots there. On my way back to Furnace Creek, I glanced to the left and immediately focused in on the area shown above. I saw the shot before I ever took the camera and tripod out of the car. I love the colors as well as the movement of the lines/curves through the image. There is actually a distance of many feet between the foreground area that fills the bottom of the frame and angles up to the right as compared to the background area that starts on the left and expands to fill the entire horizontal area at the top of the frame. I knew I wanted to blend these so I used a telephoto lens to compress the entire view. The sun was low on the horizon, giving the rock a relatively warm glow, while still providing a few darker areas to provide a little texture and contrast.

Photograph information:

  • Sony A7r
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
  • 286mm, f/10, 1/200 sec.
  • Tripod and cable release employed

Death Valley Part One

20muleteam

I was extremely fortunate to spend a few days in Death Valley in late March. Having only driven through once previously, without even stopping, I was unaware of what an absolutely amazing place it is. I took several photos and while there are some that I like, I can only imagine what opportunities there are when there are clouds in the sky to complement the amazing scenery. I will post several images in the coming days. I cannot wait to return and explore some of the other treasures that this park has to offer.

This image was taken at dawn from the hills above Twenty Mule Team Canyon, looking west toward Zabriskie Point and the Panamints, which are across the valley and are the distant peaks to the right in this image. I love the color of the sky before the first rays peek over the ridges from the east. I hiked up in the dark to the highest point I could find that featured a pleasing vantage and then experimented with many compositions. It is hard to find bad scenery!

Photograph information:

  • Sony A7r
  • Rokinon 14mm f/2.8
  • ISO 100, f/11 @ 0.8 sec.
  • Tripod and cable release employed