Tim Boyer Photography

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Whimbrel

How to Manage Light Throughout the Day

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Three shooting locations and three different light situations, by managing the light, shadows, angle the light was striking the birds, it all works.  The beautiful warm light of early morning and late afternoon are best, but not always possible so let's  figure out how to work with what we have.  

Royal Tern on a foggy morning at Crown Point. 1/1250 of a second at f/4 and ISO 500, with the Canon 5D Mark III and a 600mm lens.
Royal Tern on a foggy morning at Crown Point. 1/1250 of a second at f/4 and ISO 500, with the Canon 5D Mark III and a 600mm lens.

On foggy mornings it's even more important to expose to the right and get the image as bright as possible without blowing out the highlights or overexposing.  Otherwise everything turns out dark gray.

Common Gallinule or as it was formally known as a Common Moorhen. 1/1600 of a second, f/5.6 at ISO witht e Canon 5D Mark III and a 600 mm lens with the 1.4 Extender.
Common Gallinule or as it was formally known as a Common Moorhen. 1/1600 of a second, f/5.6 at ISO witht e Canon 5D Mark III and a 600 mm lens with the 1.4 Extender.

Shooting at high noon with bright light and dark shadows equals contrast, it's important to manage the shadows.  Since all the shadows are behind the bird - except for a little on the neck, this image works.  Yes, it would have been better to make this in the sweet morning light, but that wasn't possible, so this is under the category of, "making the best of the given situation".  Manage the light!

Whimbrel finding dinner on the rocks. 1/640 of a second at f/8 and ISO 800 with the Canon 5D Mark III and the 600 mm lens and a 1.4 Extender.
Whimbrel finding dinner on the rocks. 1/640 of a second at f/8 and ISO 800 with the Canon 5D Mark III and the 600 mm lens and a 1.4 Extender.

Okay, finally at the end of the day, some nice warm evening, magic hour light, and a Whimbrel that forgot its got a probing beak, not a short, sharp beak for eating barnacles.  I've never seen them eat like this, so it was a treat to watch them work the rocks. In this light, just keep the sun at your back,  and have fun.

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

Bird PhotographyTim Boyer2 Comments
Brown Pelican, La Jolla, CA

Brown Pelican, La Jolla, CA

A warm day and cool birds! Day 2 of my California trip I went to La Jolla, and Scripps Beach, for the pelican and the shorebirds, that can be found there.

There are also Brandt's and Double Crested Cormorants.

Brandt's Cormorant, La Jolla, Ca

Brandt's Cormorant, La Jolla, Ca

Double-crested Cormorant, La Jolla, CA

Double-crested Cormorant, La Jolla, CA

Just south of the La Jolla Caves, there's some beach access that often holds shorebirds.  I've found Black Turnstone, Spotted Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover and Willet here.  Today there was mostly gulls and a few Black Turnstones.

Black Turnstone, La Jolla, CA

Black Turnstone, La Jolla, CA

I finished the day at Scripps beach, and found the following birds there.

Whimbrel at Scripps Beach, CA

Whimbrel at Scripps Beach, CA

Spotter Sandpiper, La Jolla, CA

Spotter Sandpiper, La Jolla, CA

Say's Phoebe, Scripps Beach, CA

Say's Phoebe, Scripps Beach, CA

Marbled Godwit, Scripps Beach, CA

Marbled Godwit, Scripps Beach, CA

Shorebirds are my favorite group of birds, so whenever I can end the day with a few in golden light I consider it to be a magical ending to a great day.  Tally: at the end of Janauray 6th, I had 10 species photographed for the new year, and to quote Robert Frost, "miles to go before I sleep", but many adventures waiting ahead of me.

Birding/Photo Project #5 & San Diego Workshop Images

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

These images were created on the banks of the San Diego River, and at Cabrillo National Monument as part of the San Diego Workshop.   Having never photographed Wrentits, Little Blue Herons or California Towhees, this was a fun day.  California Towhee was a new bird for my life list as well.   The tally is now 33 species photographed and  467 to go.  

A Little Blue Heron pauses while searching for food along the San Diego River.

A Little Blue Heron pauses while searching for food along the San Diego River.

A basic/winter plumage Forster's Tern hanging out on the San Diego River.

A basic/winter plumage Forster's Tern hanging out on the San Diego River.

A Killdeer along the banks of the San Diego River.

A Killdeer along the banks of the San Diego River.

A Horned Lark searching for seeds along the San Diego River.

A Horned Lark searching for seeds along the San Diego River.

A Whimbrel searching for food along the San Diego River.

A Whimbrel searching for food along the San Diego River.

A California Towhee searching for seeds in the Cabrillo National Monument across the bay from San Diego.

A California Towhee searching for seeds in the Cabrillo National Monument across the bay from San Diego.

A Wrentit feeding in bushes in teh Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego CA.

A Wrentit feeding in bushes in teh Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego CA.