Posts in Category: OM-1 & 100-400mm

Costa Rica! Violetear acrobatics

Lesser Violetear Hummingbird: Batsu Gardens, San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — a few more shots from the flower set-up at Batsu Gardens, on the mountain- side high above Savegre Mountain Hotel and Spa. On the day we visited, in the misty rain, it was mostly Talamancas and Lesser Violetears. The Lesser Violetear is probably the most common hummingbird in Costa Rica at all elevations up to Cloud Forest. They are super active and aggressive defenders of nectar sources. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 570mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Florida! Rosey preening in the early light

Roseate Spoonbill: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, USA, January 2024 — Sometimes it is just (mostly) about color and light. Unless you know you might not even recognize one of these shots as a Roseate Spoonbill for sure. The second shot is more obvious but it is still really more about what the early morning backlight does to the feathers and to the colors, than it is about the bird. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800 and 454mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds in fight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator.

Costa Rica! Talamanca in the rain

Talamanca Hummingbird: Batsu Gardens, San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — Batsu Gardens, high on the mountain-side above Savegre Mountain Hotel and Spa in San Geraldo de Dota, was specifically designed for bird photography. There are two permanent metal roofed awnings for shelter from the rain when it comes…one primarily purposed for Hummingbird photography and one facing the moss covered structure against the backdrop of the mountains across the valley designed for the fruit and seed eaters. Generally Felipe Chacon, grandson of the original settlers in the Savegre Valley, and the garden’s creator, picks you up at the Hotel in a 4 wheel drive van for the sharp climb to the gardens, and then sets out an array of fresh flowers from the gardens to attract hummingbirds against a backdrop of the slope behind. You can have a cup of coffee or use the clean and pleasant rest rooms close by while you wait. He also puts out fresh fruit in front of the other pavilion, so you have your choice. There will always be hummingbird action near both awnings. We drew a partially rainy day with not the best light, but it is still possible to photograph the hummers without flash. This the Talamanca coming in to the set-up flowers in the rain. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 506mm equivalent (the hummingbirds are close!). Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. In the low light I was shooting at ISO 25600 to 32000 to get a shutter speed of 1/1600. I would, of course, have preferred a lower ISO and even higher shutter speed but we work with what we are given. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Florida! Snowy

Snowy Egret: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, USA, January 2024 — After my active session with the frenzy of Snowy Egrets dancing on the water it was nice to find this one quietly feeding the shallow pools. Another aspect of Snowy Egret beauty altogether. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 732mm and 570mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Costa Rica! Flames

Flame-colored Tanager: Feathers Garden, Savegre Mountain Hotel and Spa, San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — I am not sure either the male or female Flame-colored Tanager is exactly flame-colored. Certainly very orange and very yellow, but I think of flame as having a bit more red to it, along with the orange and yellow hews from the flame tips. Still, I learned long ago not to expect precision, or even logic, from bird names. Whatever, the Flame-colored Tanager is a striking bird of the foothills and highlands of Mexico and Central America. In Costa Rica it is a bird of the Cloud Forests and is one of the most common birds at feeders at all elevations in Savegre River valley. And always a welcome addition to any afternoon. OM System OM-1 with M.Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. Processed in Photomator.

Florida! Early Spoonie

Roseate Spoonbill: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, USA, January 2024 — It was still early light by the time I left the pool behind the entry sign at Blackpoint drive, and there were still a lot of Spoonbills and Egrets feeding in the pools by the road. This handsome male, just coming into breeding plumage, was strutting his stuff. OM System OM-1 with M. Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 372mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator.

Costa Rica! 1st morning Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal: San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — The Resplendent Quetzal is a difficult bird to photograph well. It is not secretive. They are easy to find in the Savegre River Valley in the Talamanca Mountains and in other highland areas of Central America. You just have to know which Wild Avacado trees are in fruit on any given day, and go, really early in the morning, well before breakfast, and stand, often in what passes for bitter cold in the tropics, in the pretty much dark before sunrise, and wait for them to come in, take a fruit, and go to a perch to sit a while and digest. The wind is always blowing the long covert feathers around, and there is never enough light for the camera, so you are using much higher ISO than any sane photographer likes, and there is often a misty rain falling. Did I mention that you generally have to climb a very steep hill at 8000 feet to get to the spot in the first place. And stand. And wait. But when the Quetzals come! Well it is all worth it…so worth it that generally I talk the guide and the group to going back the next pre-dawn to do it all over again. Part of it is that, even after 10 or more trips to San Geraldo de Dota, which amounts to 20 or more morning Quetzal waits, I still don’t have my definitive Quetzal shot. I have lots of good shots, but no great ones. It is just difficult to do photographic justice, under the typical conditions, to the resplendence of the Resplendent Quetzal. Some morning one will hang around until after sunrise, or we will happen on one in full daylight…but until then I will continue to amass pretty-good Quetzal shots from before breakfast on the cold side of a mountain in the mist. Woe is me! No really, I am already making plans for my next trip to San Geraldo de Dota in 2025. These two shots are from the first morning in December of 2023, my last visit of that trip. OM System OM-1 with M. Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. (With in this light amounted to ISO 25600, higher than I would have liked, at 1/200th, which is lower than I would have liked.) Woe. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Florida! Ibis on the hunt

Glossy Ibis: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, USA, January 2024 — It is rare to see any wading bird that is not on the hunt. They don’t get much rest. This Glossy Ibis was having some success in one of the little ponds along Blackpoint Drive. OM System OM-1 with M. Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my birds-in-flight and action modifications. Processed in Photomator and assembled in FrameMagic.

Costa Rica: Northern Visitors (snowbirds)

Baltimore Oriole and Tennessee Warbler: Feathers Garden, Savegre Mountain Hotel and Spa, San Geraldo de Dota, Costa Rica, December 2023 — Costa Rica gets it share of North American snowbirds, birds that winter over in Costa Rica and breed in North America. Two of the most visible at most elevations are the Baltimore Oriole and the Tennessee Warbler. In fact I have seen more Tennessee Warblers in Costa Rica than I have in North America. OM System OM-1 with M. Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom bird modifications. Processed in Photomator.

Florida! More Egrets Posturing

Great Egret: Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida, January 2024 — With Snowy Egrets it is all about dancing on water. With Great Egrets it is all about the spread wings. Or at least it was on this day at Merritt Island. And I had lots to choose from. OM System OM-1 with M. Zuiko 100-400IS zoom at from 246 to 420mm equivalents. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. -0.3EV Processed in Photomator.