White Pelican: Magee Marsh Boardwalk, Oak Harbor, Ohio, USA, May 2022 — Maybe it is just me, but I don’t immediately think of White Pelicans when I think of Ohio. Considering the long shoreline of Lake Erie, maybe I should, but I don’t. So I was surprised to look up from the boardwalk at Magee and see a large flock of them coming overhead. I even managed to get my camera up in time. 🙂 I happened to be with a “local” at the time, and she assured me that they are common along the Erie shore, and had already been in Ohio for more than a month at that point during the Biggest Week in American Birding in mid-May. Who knew? Sony Rx10iv at 526mm equivalent. Program mode with my “birds-in-flight” modifications (I have BIF programed into the AEL button, so I just swung the camera up, pressed the AEL button, zoomed out a bit to frame a section of the flock, and shot.) Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th. + .7 EV for the backlight.
Howler Monkeys: Sarapique River at Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica — the Howler Monkey is by far the most abundant primate in the lowland rain forests of Costa Rica, at least on the Caribbean slope. The resident troop woke us up most mornings at 4am as the males greeted the day and proclaimed their dominance. We saw this troop from the safari boat on the Sarapique River, upstream from the docks at Puerto Viejo. The big male is pretty obvious. The female with the baby was good to see, and the young male was very active. There were several more in the troop, but they stayed deeper in and out of sight. Sony Rx10iv at 509mm equivalent (trying to get the tails in :). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. Mostly ISO 800, one at ISO 1000 and one at 640. f4 @ 1/500th.
Orange-chinned Parakeet: Donde Cope, Guapiles, Costa Rica — Visitors come and go, year to year, at Cope’s home in Guapiles, and I do not mean just the human visitors. This year he has several new visitors, or new to me in the many years I have been spending an afternoon at Cope’s on one of my Costa Rica Rain and Cloud Forest trips. And the sloths that have spent them there in the past seem to be gone. These days he has both a Pygmy and a Green Kingfisher coming to the old tilapia pond, though never at the same time, and he also has a good sized flock of Orange-chinned Parakeets. If you look closely at two of those photos, you and actually see the orange chin. Not easy to see. Sony Rx10iv various zoom settings to frame the bird. Program mode with multi-frame noise reduction. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos.
Russet-napped Wood-rail: Donde Cope, Gaupiles, Costa Rica — One of the highlights of a visit to Donde Cope, for several years now, has been the opportunity to see a Russet-napped Wood-rail up close. He had a pair coming to his tiny talapia pond. They stayed in the deep shadows on the far side in the back corner of the pond, but they were there. Perhaps because Covid kept visitors away for over a year, the Wood-rails have gotten much more bold. There were at least 3 visiting the pond the day we visited Cope…and they came right out into the open and on the near side of the pond. What a treat! Sony Rx10iv at 424mm equivalent. Program mode with multi-frame noise reduction. Processed in Pixomator Photo and Apple Photos. Equivalent ISO 6400 @ f4 @ 1/320th.
Red-legged Honeycreeper: Donde Cope, Gaupiles, Costa Rica — When I teach wildlife and nature photography I tell my students that 90% of wildlife photography is “being in the right place, at the right time, and ready”. Donde Cope…Cope’s home in Gaupiles, Limon, Costa Rica…is one of the “rightest” places I can image. Cope has created a miniature bird and wildlife sanctuary on the tiny village plot around his home, where you can see and photograph birds, lizards, and frogs (and some years sloths) at incredibly close range. And most days are the right time to be there…some better than others of course…dry weather is nice (or at least not pouring rain…or maybe better, not dark rain), but then a gentle rain will make the birds more active, and deepen the colors…so, yes, most any time is a good time to be at Cope’s. That only leaves “ready”. And by “ready” I mean a whole bunch of things that the photographer can do, and should do, in advance…but I also mean the sum total of the photographers experience brought to bear on each moment. You need, of course, a camera that you are comfortable with and which you know well enough so that you no longer have to “think about how it works.” You either need to have set it up for a variety of situations, and have those settings stored for easy access, or you need to know how to set it quickly as conditions change. To my way of thinking the best camera is the one you have to think about least while taking photos. You need to be able to read the light well enough to know which program to set on the camera. At Cope’s the canopy is close and heavy, so light levels are always low. I set my camera for my “low light” program…which includes multi-frame noise reduction, and hope for the best. Then it is all about seeing the subject and framing. And taking a lot of photos. Birds, especially are always moving. You need to keep them in sight and in frame. Then you just press the shutter button and let the camera do its work (or that is my theory anyway). This honeycreeper, one of the brightest and most active birds at ground level in the rain forest, landed on a stump only a few feet from me. I got it in frame and shot off a series of photos. I have the focus set to a small movable spot in the center, which I trust to put the bird in focus if I can get it anywhere on the bird. Because you can not use multi-frame noise reduction and continuous shooting at the same time, taking multiple shots meant pressing the shutter button repeatedly while the bird was still in frame. All three of the shots I saved from the sequence are keepers. This is perhaps my favorite, and I, personally, think it is stunning! I love the color, the detail, and the dynamic pose. I love what it says about the bird…how absolutely Red-legged Honeycreeper it is! Just right time, rights place, and ready. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 561mm equivalent (I must have zoomed back a bit to keep the bird in frame, but that is almost instinctive at this point and with this camera, and I trust the zoom to be tack sharp at whatever setting I need). Program mode with my low light modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. Equivalent ISO 6400 @ f4 @ 1/320th. (And again, I am confident enough of the my low light program to just let the camera do its thing…I did not choose those settings…the camera did. 🙂 So, right place, right time, and ready.
Golden-browed Chlorophonia and Silver-throated Tanager: Batsu Gardens, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica — We were blessed to have a visit from the Golden-browed Chlorophonia on both visits (one with each of my Point and Shoot Nature Photo groups) to Batsu Gardens high above the Savegre River in San Gerardo de Dota. The Chlorophonia is a much sought after species for birders and photographers visiting the mountains of Costa Rica…though it is listed as common in most field guides, it’s high altitude habitat, and canopy feeding habits, makes it a rare sighting for visitors. The Silver-throated Tanager, on the other hand, is among the most common and the most present birds in Costa Rica…it is everywhere from sea-level to tree-line, especially where folks are feeding birds. Here, a tanager is doing its best to intimidate the Chlorophonia…though the Golden-brow does not seem impressed, as befits it “star” status. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 1000 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Yellow-headed Caracara: Hotel Bougainvillea, San Jose, Costa Rica — I don’t know how much wifi I am going to have over the next days, so here is an early post for tomorrow. I was surprised to see this Yellow-headed Caracara perched (more or less) on the air vent of the building next to the hotel. It seemed to be attacking its reflection in the silver metal. I hope the survival of the species does not depend on this individual. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Photo Pro, and Apple Photos. (Enlarged for image scale in Pixelmator Pro for the equivalent of perhaps a 1500mm lens.) ISO 100 @ f6.3 @ 1/1000th. + 1 EV.
Mallard: York County, Maine, USA — There are always Mallards, and Mallards will always do something interesting if you watch them long enough. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 573mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 1250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Wild Turkey: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The Turkeys are forming large herds again…it is the season…or maybe it is in honor of Thanksgiving…safety in numbers? I encountered a small group right next to the road and pulled over to roll down the window and take a few shots. This is full frame at 600mm equivalent. The light was not the best, but even here you can see the deep iridescence in the feathers…blues and greens and purples…making the humble turkey a rainbow bird. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 1250 @ f4 @ 1/500th. And a happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Eastern Bluebird: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — not a perfect shot but it certainly caught my eye when I was importing my photos from a walk to Roger’s Pond the other day. The bluebird was a little too far away even at 600mm on the zoom, and the light was not good, but when a bluebird splashes across the frame like this, well it certainly catches your eye. 🙂 The colorful background helps too. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Photo Pro, and Apple Photos. ISO 1000 @ f4 @ 1/500th.