A few years ago it was rare to see even one nesting pair of Roseate Spoonbills at the St Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery, but this year there must have been a dozen or more. They were all competing for nesting materials. In this shot, a male Spoonbill brings a twig (or something more than a twig) to the nest. The subdued light of an overcast day still highlights the amazing pink of the wings and body of the Spoonbill, never more evident than when backlit…and catching it against the green foliage only makes it more vivid. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode with center lock on focus and Minimum Shutter Speed ISO set to 1/1000th. -.3EV. 1/1000th @ ISO 250 @ f4. Processed in Polarr.
The in-town herd of Elk in Gardiner Montana provide some amazing close up opportunities. I am not sure if they are year round residents, or if they come in for the early spring grazing that lawns provide. There were 7 to 8 elk in the morning, each morning, right behind our hotel, on the grassy slope between the parking lot and the river. They were wary, but not easily alarmed…which pretty much describes my attitude toward them as well. 🙂 This one was down over a sharp slope, with just its head showing over, and very aware of me as I approached, still in the safety of the parking lot above. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. -.3EV. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 640. Processed in Polarr.
There were two newborn American Bison with the herd at the Tower Roosevelt Junction in Yellowstone National Park yesterday when we drove into the Lamar Valley. They were so obviously enjoying being alive! They were running in circles around their mothers, jumping over brush…obviously playing…expending the energy and the joy of being alive in the morning in Yellowstone. We felt some of the same joy…especially watching them. Sony RX10iv at 340mm. Program mode. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
We finished our meetings early and by 3:30 were headed for Old Faithful in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park. I mean, who can be that close to Old Faithful and not go see it. We did not anticipate how long it would take to travel the 60 miles or so through the park. Road construction and 35mph speed limits kept us from our goal until 5PM. We even considered turning around until I searched the Park paper and found that the park gates are open 24 hours. When we got to the Old Faithful Visitor Center we found that we had arrived 15 minutes after the last eruption, and that another was not expected for over an hour. The trail guide showed some interesting small geysers behind Old Faithful on what is called Geyser Hill. There is boardwalk surrounding the hill so we climbed up and walked through a landscape of boiling springs and smoking cones. While we were still finding the trail up to the boardwalk we saw our first eruption, from one of the Lion Group over the brow of the hill, and the Anemone Geyser, a small geyser that erupts only about 6 feet, but does it every 7 to 10 minuets gave us our first lesson in the dynamics of geysers. It was a strange landscape for sure and our hour went fast. We decided to stay up there for the projected eruption of Old Faithful and photograph it from there, from a distance, to maybe get a better impression of the size of the plume. It turned out to be a good choice, and Old Faithful performed on schedule. Amazing! And what more can you say. I have several 10 fps sequences the I will stitch together into little movies, but this is a typical still shot from early in the eruption. The eruption lasted maybe 6 minutes start to finish. Sony RX10iv at 217mm. Program mode with action modifications. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.
My first experience of Yellowstone National Park has made impression that will certainly bring me back here for longer adventure. We only drove into the park from Gardiner, where we are for meetings, as far as Mammoth Hot Springs, but even in that short drive we saw abundant wildlife and fantastic landscapes. A herd of American Bison were grazing beside the Gardiner River. There was a calf, relatively new born from the looks, with them. They were not doing anything in particular…just grazing and wading in the water, but it was still a stirring sight. Sony RX10iv at 397mm. Program mode. 1/800th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
“Showy Egret” it should be during breeding season. St. Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery. Sony RX10iv at 390mm. Program mode with action modifications. 1/1000th @ f6.3 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
With every generation of Point and Shoot cameras, flight shots become easier. Not that they are ever easy. At least at the St Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery there are lots of opportunities to practice. Great Egrets are big targets, but they move remarkably fast even when coming in for a landing. It is not easy to keep them in the frame. The fact that the Sony RX10iv’s focus is up to the task of tracking them in flight and the lens is so sharp through the whole zoom range are huge advantages, and makes the camera totally worth its price for the wildlife photographer. Sony RX10iv at 490mm. Program mode with birds in flight modifications. +.3 EV exposure compensation (for shots against the sky). Center fame, lock on, continuous auto focus. 1/1000th @ f5.6 @ ISO 125. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Another Snowy Egret action sequence from the St Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery, in St Augustine Florida. These two males took exception to each other’s nest material foraging and faced off aggressively. Lots of posturing and prancing and flights of fancy, but no real damage done. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode with action and flight modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 400. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
The Snowy Egrets at the St Augustine Alligator Farm wild bird rookery are in full breeding plumage and full breeding mode. This male is coming into a nest. I think he might have spotted an intruder…likely a Cattle Egret or another Snowy, and was making his presence known to try to dive the intruder off, so he could reclaim the nest. Fighting mad and dancing on air! Sony RX10iv at 442mm. Program mode with birds in flight modifications. 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO 125. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
The wild bird rookery at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm (a world class zoo despite its name) is one of the best places in the US to photograph nesting waders…including increasing numbers of Roseate Spoonbills. They are actively building nests this week and this bird flew regular sorties out and back between a pile of twigs under the trees and its nest above the boardwalk. I was not the only photographer tracking the flights. Sony RX10iv at 468mm. Program mode with birds in flight modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 250. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.