Wood Storks at Nest & A Cute Preen

•September 4, 2016 • 19 Comments

Wood Stork Pair Nesting 9301

While gathering some images for my stock photo page at Alamy I came across these two previously unattended to images and thought I’d share them here. They are from a shoot at the rookery in March of 2015. Generally, when I take pictures I start out attracted to certain ones (in this case it was some nesting egrets)  which I work on but then I’ve done another shoot before long and neglect to review all of what I already have for the current excitement of a new venture out.  Terrible I know. The stock photo effort is getting me back into the older files to sort out items which could be useful to someone else whether a nature calendar or something along those lines. This may or may not be a productive exercise but it is still fun to rediscover a shoot.

The top picture is rather sweet of presumably the male bringing the faithful nest sitting female a twig to arrange in the nest. This bringing of twigs and arranging them goes on a long time into the process even after chicks are hatched. I guess it is universal in the animal kingdom, or at least some, that the male secures the furniture and the female does the arranging and decorating. Rightfully so I would say!! She looks up ready to take the twig he is presenting.

The second image is of a single wood stork at the nesting colony in the process of preening his cute little rump with its black tail feathers. The image offers a great view of the head of the wood with all of its marvelous textures. Easy to see how it earns one of its nicknames, Old Flinthead, with the flinty strike- a- match- on- it texture of the neck. I find wood storks most interesting to look at and observe.

Wood Stork Tail Preen-9417

 

As Ever,

Judy

Beware of Attack Chicken

•August 26, 2016 • 31 Comments

 

_Rainbow Cloud MorningF6A4080-wps

The month of August afforded my husband and me the opportunity to dock our Contender 35 Express boat at the Plantation Harbor Marina in Islamorada, Florida to base out of for a few weekends.  While the first  two images presented here do not entirely do justice to this wonderful facility they serve only as prelude and context to what follows….the story of our neighbors ‘attack chicken.’ Chickens belong in barnyards or farms not places where you’d dock a boat to enjoy the absolute quiet that a sultry, humid Florida summer day can offer.  Right!? Could be it is too sultry and too quiet located here among tied up vessels with occupants just waking to percolate their morning coffee and sit in boat chairs to watch the light change. This morning the predictable combination of sunlight on early rising and moisture laden clouds even produced a bit of rainbow spectrum to add to the almost unnatural quietude and serenity of the morning. Soo quiet…could be we need that chicken!!!

_Boats at Dock-F6A4085-wps-2

A small fraction of the vessels docked here at the marina waking up to a new day. Our boat is the second one in from the left visible in the photo. It is directly across from the home of the attack chicken which you can see has a bridge enclosed with some plastic panels.

_Beware of Attack Chicken-F6A3969-wps

It is not that the owners don’t make you aware there is a chicken somewhere around.

_Rooster on Dock-F6A3971-wps

And so the first morning I sat sipping my morning coffee on my gently floating boat and mulling over the amazing saturated silence only to notice a handsome rooster had walked a plank off of its vessel home onto the dock between us. It strutted a bit, up and down in front of our across the dock neighbor’s plants and proceeded to pierce the dulled silence of the humid morning doing what roosters do in the morning.

Rooster Crowing_F6A3982-wps

Rooster portrait_F6A3987-wps

Rooster_F6A3995-wps

So naturally the attack chicken became my first ever rooster image. Two weeks later I presented said chicken with two portraits of himself.

Rooster On Edge of Boat_F6A3998-wps

However, I am not sure he was impressed or cared enough to crow about it!!

As  post script I would like to say that his post is dedicated to Mr M.R. Emberson author of the blog,  “A Wing and A Way” The Influence of Birds on Culture. Go visit him here and see his wonderful detailed research articles. It is a wonderful site….go check it out.  His posts also feature the wonderful artwork of his wife who among many other wonderful birds drew a lovely Rooster..just a tad more flowery looking than the attack chicken of Plantation Harbor Marina, Islamorada, Florida!!

May our days be serene and punctuated never by anything more than the crow of a rooster in the morning!!

As Ever,

Judy

Woodstork Portrait & LR play on Green Heron Scene

•August 13, 2016 • 27 Comments

 

Woodstork Portrait_0940-41-wps-2

More later on this but I have been working hard getting started with a stock photography site to try and sell some of my images and put them to good use. So I’ve been a bit sluggish with putting up new things here on WordPress. For the stock photo items I’ve been endeavoring to select images which I thought had some impact or told a story or were a good representation of the activity or bird. So in the process I’ve run across images I never did anything with and have decided to use along with ones I’ve already worked on. See the side bar for my barely gotten started page on Alamy. The link goes to my images so far but if you search there you’ll see other peoples images come up as well. Stock is mostly about keywording for what a client needs for a project rather than necessarily being a specific photographer/contributor oriented. I plan to post more information about Alamy after I’ve had a little more experience but it seems to be a good stock site with respectful treatment to the photographer/contributors. I have more uploaded but they won’t show for a couple of days while they QC and I then work on various fields.

I just thought I’d post this image of a wood stork in a nice pose. I get stuck on pictures sometimes for the craziest reasons….like I love the feet on this one and that fly on the leg. At the time the bird was actually close enough that I couldn’t fit the whole thing in one shot from were I was standing, so this is actually a composite of two shots taken with the intention of seeing if I could make one complete detailed image. So its pretty big and the blend worked very well. It is a late day shot which I have brought up the light on but might look a little dark still.   So this was a little work and I hope it’ll be useable in the end since I like so many of the details and the pose. There were some purplish areas in the sky which I know were late day clouds but I thought they looked icky so made some color corrections. Not that I don’t like purple sunrise or sunset colors…just here nope!

So this might still be a work in process and since I’ve only done laundry today and worked on Alamy uploading I might be too bleary eyed to be the judge. Just thought I’d share…..I mean aren’t those great legs!!! Maybe this will go into Lightroom for a tweak test too. Making progress on learning Lightroom and it actually gives me some different things than my current system. Was working on an older picture the other day that I couldn’t get right lighting wise…and in LR I found a combination of lighting that made it look very nice. Well colorful anyway.  In fact just decided to go and get it. It is a green heron which was standing in the pneumatophores under of black mangrove tree but the lighting was dark and uninteresting..no mood at all despite the great sounding setting. But lets see how it looks here: probably more lively than the woodstork. Well the learning never ends!

 

Green Heron _F6A2045-wps-2

Sorry for the sluggish presence lately because I love WordPress and keeping up with everyone here!!

 

Thanks,

Judy

 

 

A Nice Day at the Nest with Woodstork Fledglings

•June 28, 2016 • 18 Comments

 

Woodstork Fledgling - Wingspread

Last year was the first season at Wakodahatchee that the Woodstork population set up housekeeping at the front pond apple tree island. This was due, I believe, to disturbance to the further out areas where they usually nest. Having missed most of the nesting season this year, I did have the opportunity to stop by the rookery on my way south from a visit to Merritt Island last week. I was delighted to find that the Woodstorks chose the same front island to nest build again this year and some fledglings were still hanging around their nests. I did not have my 300mm bird lens with me or even my small sensor camera for a telephoto boost, but took the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunny, summer afternoon watching birds. I did have my 5D and 100mm Macro lens with me and so tried that combination out for the first time in this locale and this application. The 100mm lens is a newer one of mine and  I haven’t used it much yet so this was a learning experience which paid off in getting more group shots of the nesting Woodstorks. Where I stood at this nesting island would have been too close for my 300mm to easily get all of the fully extended wingspread of these youngsters getting used to their beautiful fully feathered wings in one frame. I love doing portraits but it is nice to show the neighborhood too. Probably 200mm would have been about perfect for the day.

I loved the wingspread position of the Woodstork in the first picture and elected to treat it as a black and white to show the feather detail and stance better. I like those white feather flips next to the body of the bird…just like the whole natural design of bird wings. As you can see from the rest of the images, the leaves were lush and green as these young (but big) birds stood about on their platform of twigs looking quite chatty and amicable. No hint of any territorial disputes today!! Just everyone, including the photographer, being mellow!!

Fledgling Woodstork Wings Outstretched at Nest

 

Young Woodstork looking Amicable at the nest

 

Woodstork Siblings and Neighbors-Juvenile at Nest

 

Woodstork Fledglings at Nest

 

A Happy Summer to Everyone, May it Offer Many Adventures!!

Judy

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

•June 15, 2016 • 24 Comments

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

The Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) is a year ‘round resident of South Florida. In northern climes along the east coast of North America you’ll see these mostly June through August. I have noticed them often in wetland areas and in my own backyard. They can withstand strong winds and tilt back and forth while gripping the tips of branches or twigs very much like a pennant tethered to a pole. The Halloween portion of its common name seems fitting for the yellow wings with the distinctive black banding. It is a most attractive species and enjoyable to observe going about its delicate touch and go’s from one branch to another.

While I have taken pictures of this species before, I’ve generally been a little too distant for any detail. Recently, I have been experimenting with my 100mm macro lens on coins and other static things. Outdoors has been a bit too bright looking through the viewfinder with my new IOLs from my March cataract surgery. But, finally I am out getting used to those internal lenses as well as the new macro lens. Wandering in my yard, I spotted the colorful dragonfly trying to land on the twigs of a tree was has long since dried up in my side yard. The skeletal remains have just been left in place until replanting something for the spot. But, it was a good area to follow the winged creature with my lens. Can’t say I got close enough to qualify for a ‘macro’ picture but the lens is fast and gives very good detail even handheld and trying to creep up on such a trembling, fluttery subject.

So it is good be back out with the camera and also working with the computer again on images. I gave the image a just a little texture instead of the flat sky as it seemed to bring out the dragonfly nicely. Or maybe I just wanted to mess around with my digital tools again!!

Judy

Green Heron – Big Cypress Preserve

•March 19, 2016 • 15 Comments
Green Heron - Spiky Hairdo-Big CypressThis Green Heron has a bit of a punk attitude despite the
 knock-kneed  stance!! Well, it is the hairdo!!

The Green Heron is a common resident of the South Florida wetlands–A species I have shown probably a few too many times in other settings, such as along Florida Bay among the mangrove roots, or fishing from pond apple trees in wetland areas. This fellow dropped in on me while I was on the lookout for alligators. The winter cypress forest offers its backdrop of grays and muted mossy greens, a pale background to contrast the shimmery iridescence of the Green Heron’s natural coloring. Some call this the Green-Backed Heron for those glorious back feathers!

The community of wildlife in the Big Cypress Preserve is abundant and varied. My last few posts have featured white egrets, black vultures, a snowy egret, alligators and now the green heron which landed nearby…all from the same outing! It was an unbelievably great day!!

For those intending to visit South Florida or local photographers, bird watchers, hikers, and anyone who just loves the Big Cypress Preserve Area and has never explored the 27 mile scenic drive that loops just off of Tamiami Trail south of Monroe Station here is a map for your information. The images from my last few posts were taken along this road. Loop Road is not far from Clyde Butcher’s Ochopee Gallery and so a trip to Loop Road can include a visit to his wonderful gallery of Everglades fine art!! Not to be missed if you want to see something special!!

Loop Road - Cypress Preserve Map

Click on the Map for more information about Loop Road.

Green Backed Heron

Handsome iridescent green feathers earns this small
heron its name, the Green-Backed Heron!

Green Heron against Cypress Background

Green Heron - Cypress Setting

This shot, with its muted green and lavender palette
seemed like a work of art in its setting.

Green Heron Oil Filter Treatment

An experiment using Photoshop's Oil Filter on the last image
 to see how a natural picture might work with such a
treatment. This will be fun to learn.

Judy

Gators in Reflected Waters – Big Cypress

•March 16, 2016 • 9 Comments

 

Gator Reflections and Harsh Light

A trip to the Everglades is not really complete without a chance to sight an alligator or two. While I had planned to post the pictures of alligators along the banks of the swamp I couldn’t seem to get away from the watery reflected images instead. And so here are three for you. I am in hopes that they look fine to the viewer as my new IOLs seem to be flaring in the highlight areas which made it interesting to process. Perhaps I am digging in too soon since my second cataract was replaced just the day before yesterday with a nice new man made  Tecnis lens. I suppose I should be a better patient but since I had a chance to stay home and heal, well the computer beckoned!!

Even when you have your eye out for an alligator sighting, you can be looking right at one, lost in the myriad reflections before you realize you are being watched. I find the skin of the alligator, considering it is such a tough hide and seems so dark,  in harsh light  can really deliver highlights if you aren’t careful. Perhaps it is the water that amplifies the brightness in these cases. Image one was in rather harsh light facing into the direction of the light, the other two a little more forgiving. The third image really is intended to show how camouflaged the alligator can be drifting along right in front of you. Your attention is caught so by the reflections in the water and the pretty colors, then you see a round eye reflected upon itself just watching.

gator reflections_F6A2282-wps

Gator Camouflaged by Reflections

See him?

Judy