Tim Boyer Photography

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Santee Lakes

Expectations

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

As photographers do we just go out and photograph what's there or do we expect to see certain birds in certain locations?  The habitat was right, the birds that I had photographed five times before in the same location were not there.  Why?  What changes, recent storms, climate change, who knows?  In the past two days, I have expected to see Lesser Scaup in one spot and Wood Ducks in another, and they just weren't there.  There were consolation prizes, though, Redhead ducks and Surf Scoters in Glorietta Bay and Phainopepla, Red-tailed Hawk, and Northern Harrier at Santee Lakes.  Today I think I'll just go out and see what I find!

Here are a couple of my favorite images from yesterday at Santee Lakes.

A wet Double-crested Cormorant.
A wet Double-crested Cormorant.
Winter plumage male Ruddy Duck. 1/320 of a second, f/7.1 ISO 400 Canon 5D Mark III the 600 mm lens and the 1.4 Extender, +1 Exposure Compensation.
Winter plumage male Ruddy Duck. 1/320 of a second, f/7.1 ISO 400 Canon 5D Mark III the 600 mm lens and the 1.4 Extender, +1 Exposure Compensation.

Enjoy    Thanks    Tim

San Diego January Workshop Images

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment
Black Skimmer coming in for a landing.

Black Skimmer coming in for a landing.

We had such a great workshop in San Diego County this year, that it's hard to know which images to show you.  Here's a sample, I hope you enjoy them.

We found some Black Skimmers this year and it was fun to spend time with them. They are such unusual birds!  The bill when viewed sideways looks so big, but if viewed straight on, it's actually very thin, for slicing through the water. I chose to shoot at f/8 because I was using the AF Selcetion Zone.  After I pushed the aperture to f/8 I opened up the ISO to 800 so I'd have enough shutter speed.

Little Blue Heron feeding.

Little Blue Heron feeding.

Little Blue Herons have to be one of my favorite birds of Southern California.  I think they've been found in Washington State a couple of times, and I saw them here once on an Eastside Audubon fieldtrip to Ellensburg.  This one if fishing late in the day with some creamy light. I chose f/8  because the  600 with the 1.4 Extender can be a little soft, so then had to increase the ISO to 640.

Snowy Egret feeding.

Snowy Egret feeding.

This Snowy Egret was fishing by the Little Blue Heron. It's starting to get dark, but the light still had some color.

Brown Pelican Head throw La Jolla.

Brown Pelican Head throw La Jolla.

I love how his right foot is off the ground.  Dancing or stretching the pouch? I could probably set this to music and post it on YouTube.

Belted Kingfisher, Santee Lakes.

Belted Kingfisher, Santee Lakes.

While I often curse the short battery life of the new Canon 7D Mark II, I got this shot because I had to walk back to the car and get a third battery for the day.  So, I guess thanks Canon?

Female Ring-necked Duck Santee Lakes.

Female Ring-necked Duck Santee Lakes.

She's beautiful! Low angle from using the 600 mm lens on the ground pod Skimmer II.  Shot this one pretty much wide open on the aperture so I could blur the background.

Wood Duck Santee Lakes.

Wood Duck Santee Lakes.

Get low and get eye level!  I love Wood Ducks but this look is killer.  Is he saying feed me or don't come any closer?  Nice blurred background with the  600 at f/4!

Wood Duck Santee Lakes.

Wood Duck Santee Lakes.

Okay he was saying feed me.  Toss a little corn, get an action shot. 1/320 of a second blurred the wing tips some, I like it when action and motion is implied by using a slower shutter speed.

Heermann's Gull Coronado.

Heermann's Gull Coronado.

Post breeding season the Heermann's Gull come up the Washington Coast in the summer, but it's great to see them in their year winter or year-around habitat. I  chose to use f/9 becasue I was using Zone AF Selction points.  In Zone mode the camera will pick up the closest part of the bird.  So if the camera focuses on the wing, I wanted more depth-of-field so the eye would be sharp.

Ring-billed Gull Coranado Island.

Ring-billed Gull Coranado Island.

Flight photography with the 7D Mark II and Zone AF Selection points.  It worked great.  Fast auto focusing, 10 frames per second, and a nice tight shot from the  1.6 crop factor.

Whimbrel at one of th e local estuaries.

Whimbrel at one of th e local estuaries.

One of my favorite shorebirds, I  like that bill. If shooting at a slow shutter speed, press your hand down on top of the lens to dampen any lens shake and vibrations.  This trick will make your images sharper.

Sunset Coronado.

Sunset Coronado.

In camera HDR on the 7D Mark II, then de-saturated some in post processing.  It was so red, so cool.  Even the RAW files  look too red. It was a nice ending to a great day of photography in San Diego.

Enjoy!   Thanks   Tim

Bird Quest 2014 #4

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Santee Lakes on day three of the Southern California Bird Photography Workshop  I led on Janaury 9th (yes, I'm still catching up on posting) Warm weather and lot of ducks!  

Male Ring-necked Duck swimming towards us.
Male Ring-necked Duck swimming towards us.

The weird thing about Ring-necked Ducks is they should have been called "Ring-billed" Ducks.  The white ring on the bill is far more distinct for birders then the not so obvious ring of rusty feathers on the  neck.  In this image a little of the ring-neck can be seen.

Male American Wigeon
Male American Wigeon
Northern Pintail, male.
Northern Pintail, male.
Preening male Wood Duck.
Preening male Wood Duck.

Santee Lakes are the easiest place to photograph Wood Ducks, a little cracked corn and they love to have their picture taken.  It's possible to get really low and shoot eye level.

Male Northern Shoveler
Male Northern Shoveler
Resident Osprey
Resident Osprey

It's always fun to see an Osprey in the winter, I think this one is at Santee year around, but in the Pacific Northwest where I live, we don't have them very often in the  winter.

Female Great-tailed Grackle
Female Great-tailed Grackle

Last year I posted an image of the male Great-tailed Grackle, so here's the female.  I think I like the color tones of the  females brown feathers.

The local fishermen call this Great Blue Heron "Junior", his father didn't make it through last winter.
The local fishermen call this Great Blue Heron "Junior", his father didn't make it through last winter.
Not sure what these American Coots were fighting about, maybe early spring posturing.
Not sure what these American Coots were fighting about, maybe early spring posturing.

So, coots are in the rail family not the duck family.  We see them with ducks all the time, and the other rails (Sora, Virginia Rail) are so shy it's difficult to think of the ubiquitous, coot as anything other than a duck.

Winter plumage male Ruddy Duck.
Winter plumage male Ruddy Duck.

Good birding!