Thursday, July 19, 2018

Crops & Clips: Favorite outtakes

Getting out a half hour before sunrise on our local wetlands creates a photographic challenge. At first it is simply too dark. By the time we reach the lake it is about 20 minutes before sunrise, so this photo of a Great Blue Heron is not "pixel perfect." Yet, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it looked like an ink sketch.

Great Blue Heron before dawn, March 27, 2012:

Great Blue Heron before dawn HDR 20120327

A Green Heron perched against the rising sun on July 10, 2018. I liked its energetic posture:

Green Heron silhouette 01-20180710

Terribly underexposed images of Mottled Duck before sunrise, July 3, 2018:

Mottled Duck before sunrise 01-20180703

Mottled Duck before sunrise 02-20180703

Mottled Duck before sunrise 03-20180703

Even though these photos nearly ended up on the digital dustbin, they impart a serene kind of beauty in form and action, if not in feather detail.

This past week the dust blown in from Africa is working its magic, providing us with rosy pink sunrises. I like to walk out to the west end of this "peninsula" and listen as the open lake carries in the sounds of distant bird calls and songs:

The peninsula 20180716

This is the view to my left, along the eastern and southern shores:

View to southeast corner 20180716

Too much light can also be a problem. As the sun rises, the white plumage of the egrets reflects its rays and requires adjustment of the exposure. (Taken with my Canon EOS 80D with a fixed 420 mm lens system at f/5.6 and exposure of 1/800 sec, ISO 160 and compensation reduced  by 2 full stops to capture the egret's feather detail):

Great Egret 02-20180718

I have been experimenting with early morning flight shots. Luckily, at 6:42 AM yesterday (July 18), two minutes after sunrise, an adult Bald Eagle flew over the lake. It was too far away to grace the pages of "National Geographic," but I documented it for my eBird report:

Bald Eagle adult 01-0642AM 20180718

Remarkably, only four minutes later, an immature (first year) Bald Eagle flew in the same direction, almost over my head! It was the female eaglet from the nest we have been monitoring for over 8 years. Despite the short range, I did not capture much detail, but I thought the bird looked majestic just the same. Curiously, she was carrying some vegetation in her talons:

Bald Eagle immature 05-0646AM 20180718

Bald Eagle immature 07-0646AM 20180718

Last week two Pileated Woodpeckers flew by and then roosted together atop a power pole at the far end of the wetland patch:

Pileated Woodpecker males 01-20180707

Red "mustaches" identify them both as males. One hammered for a moment and then they exchanged a few unpleasant words before flying away:

Pileated Woodpecker males 02-20180707

Earlier this month I caught sight of a Bobcat as it crossed the gravel road about 1/4 mile away. I shot a burst of about a dozen images before it disappeared. They were very blurry, so I stitched some of them together to display them in sequence (click to enlarge):

 Bobcat composite 20180702

On July 13 I had to settle for another very "bad" photo, when the Coyote (first ever seen in this area and discovered a month earlier by my neighbor Scott) suddenly appeared along the path. 

It  stared right at me from a range of over 100 yards. As soon as I reached for the camera it turned and fled. In the space of one second I captured 5 images of its tail end before it disappeared. I will not brag about the quality of the photo, but this one is a "keeper." 

Coyote crop2 20180713

Another "first" sighting for my location this week was a Northern Curly-tailed Lizard. Native to The Bahamas, they were deliberately released in Palm Beach County to control insects in the sugar cane fields:

Curly-tailed Lizard 01-20180715

Curly-tailed Lizard 02-20180715

On my way home I stay on the (east) shady side of the road:

View to south on gravel course 20180716

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. great photos love from Poland

  2. It’s worth getting up early for such views. I agree with you about too much natural light spoiling the picture. Grey skies and less light make for the best shots

  3. I love those shots of the mottled duck, especially the first couple. Gorgeous!!

  4. Wow, what a great collection of photos. Sometimes the quality of the photo is more in the capture rather than the correct exposure and such.

  5. Lovely rosy pink sunrises and great shots of all the beautiful critters!

  6. Beautiful sky shots. The birds are wonderful, great captures. I have never seen the curly tailed lizard, neat sighting. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend! PS, thanks also for your comment on my blog.

  7. A great set of images - we dont really have any large predators in our area. Do the woodpeckers ever cause the power to go out?

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  8. Personally, I really like the coyote photo!! And your 'just before sunrise photos'. But best of all this week...the pair of pileated woodpeckers.

    Thanks for joining us at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend.

  9. Personally, I really like the coyote photo!! And your 'just before sunrise photos'. But best of all this week...the pair of pileated woodpeckers.

    Thanks for joining us at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend.

  10. I do love the first shot. What could be considered a bad photo is in actuality a work of art. The pink sure made for beautiful skies. My favorite shot has to be the egret. Have a wonderful day.

  11. In response to Stewart, I think squirrels and raccoons are more common causes of power outages. The lines are quite well-protected, with covers over the insulators and the first 2-3 feet of conductor lines from the poles. Florida has so many large birds such as eagles, vultures and herons, so they are protected from electrocution should their wings complete a circuit. Woodpeckers may weaken the wooden poles but they are regularly inspected and maintained.

  12. I always learn a lot from your posts - especially how little I know about professional photography - LOL. I like your 'poor' shots - they are artsy and capture the 'motion' and movement that we know happens in real nature. Enjoy your week ahead - happy 'shooting'.

  13. Great shots! The bobcat reminds me of a mountain lion.

  14. Artists are their worse critics. :-) Your photos are awesome, Kenneth, whether they are spot, underexposed, of otherwise off key that only photographers know. For me, it's the framing of your story in each shot.

  15. Wonderful shots! Loved the duck on the rocks so much! Also the bobcat and coyote were fun to see. Such great landscape photos as well!

  16. That first shot is amazing. I would never have thought it was a photograph.

  17. The curly tailed lizard is an awesome capture! Also like the duck - first impression "on a cloud!" The sun-rise is as usual so stunning! Your captures of the woodpeckers are memorable -they must just have gone to the hair stylist:):) Many thanks Ken for all these stunning details of a Florida sun-rise, shared with All Seasons

  18. Beautiful shots! Sometimes the ones that aren't "technically correct" are the most amazing, and memorable. I love that you tell us a bit about each one. Thank you for sharing! :-)

  19. very nice collection of critters here. Good job.

  20. By the way, I agree with the ink sketch comment about the first photo. It really does look like one. Enjoyed all the shots. I know I commented already. :-)


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