Wednesday, July 30, 2008

bird photography break

Just a note to let you know that tomorrow morning I will be taking off for Big Stone country around Ortonville, MN, and Millbank, SD. I'll be based at my favorite spot for respite, Blue Cloud Abbey, near Marvin, SD. I plant to return in about a week with digital cards full with bird photos.

Monday, July 28, 2008

10,000 years

How long will your prints last? Interesting possibilities here.


Could this be the best black & white printer to-date?
Read about it here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

bird watching journals

I haven't used these, but they look interesting.
If you have, let me know what you think.
For more information,
click here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

pigeons looking for a clean Porsche

No -- this picture was not taken by me, but rather by Sam Javanrouh and it does have birds.
I've been subscribing to his daily emails since I enjoy his use of extreme wide angle lenses at perspectives that appear normal -- contrary to most other extreme wide angle shots. He is careful to have parallel verticals & exemplary in accurate exposure for what are often cloudy or night views.

As nature/bird photographers we often forget that there is more to photography. One exception among the blogs I visit regularly is John Mikes of the Weekend Shooter. Another who has just gotten into wide angle shooting is Craig of Craig's Birds.
They and Sam are inspiring me to look at wide angle shooting (which seems contrary to most ideas of nature/bird photography). I plan to do so when I take off next Thursday for a week of bird photography in Eastern South Dakota out of Blue Cloud Abbey.
For more of Sam's pictures, go to his site here and explore his talent. If you like what you see, sign up for the daily emails -- they certainly brighten my day and challange me to do better.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Would you believe 8 megapixels?

Look at Samsung! Last Tuesday I posted about a 5 megapixel phone -- now we have an 8. (They even have a 10 in their line that I haven't explored.) This 8 megapixel phone seems to blur the line between phones and cameras.

Read about it here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

go light

I'm still struggling with whether or not to pop for Canon's 500mm lens. The two major considerations are cost and weight. $5,000+ is not chicken feed -- 8 1/2 lbs. + camera + tripod is not a light load to haul in the field. It was therefore interesting to read the following in Art Morris' latest newsletter about his recent trip to the Galapagos:
My choice of going extremely light with the 400 DO
(rather than the 500 f/4), the 70-200 f/4 (rather
than the f/2.8, and the EOS-40D bodies (rather than
the EOS-1D MARK bodies) turned out to be a great way
for me to go. This is the same combo that I went with
on the Wild Britain Cruise.

If you are not familiar with Art, check out his web site and sign up for the free newsletter.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

LG Secret

The LG Secret is a new 5 megapixel camera-phone that can also shoot DivX video at 120fps. At just 11.8mm thick, the LG Secret is the slimmest 5 megapixel camera phone on the market. Photo and video editing features include facial editing and SmartLight, a feature that automatically adjusts the picture’s light settings. After its European launch, the LG Secret will be launched in Asia and South America, followed by the rest of the world.
If this phone were available in the U.S. today, I'd be tempted! Since I almost always carry my cell phone, I would almost always have a 5 megapixel camera with me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

test of blog with new settings

I've been fooling with the settings in the template of my blog so that I could widen
the text & picture area to allow 640 pixel wide pictures. I think I've accomplished
this by narrowing the old margins from 1.5" to about 3/8" for the full page, i.e., the
light yellow margins on the left and right.
Next I had to widen the internal text area to accommodate 640 pixel pictures.
The result is what you see here.
The down side is that if I utilize the full width of the text area for text as I'm doing in this paragraph, the text lines are quite long and consequently may be more difficult to read. The work-around to this may be to either use a larger font, or center the text, as above, and simply not allow the lines to get to be too long. What do you think?
I'm going to post the template changes below, if you want to try them on your blog.

The above Osprey was pictured just outside of the Wargo Nature Center.

Changes to this blog's template:
  1. Through Blogger's Dashboard locate your blog, click on Layout, then click on Edit HTML.
  2. Scroll down to: #content-wrapper and change width from 760px to 950.
  3. Scroll down to: #main-wrapper and change margin-left from 14 to 20px.
  4. Change the width from 468 to 640px.
  5. Scroll down to: #sidebar-wrapper and change margin right from 14 to 20px.
I don't know what the settings may be for your particular template; mine is the one called Washed Denim by Darren Delaye. Before making any changes, scroll to the top of the Edit HTML page and click on Download Full Template to save your present template so that you may return to it, should you want to.
(click on pictures to enlarge)

the BIG picture

For a long time I've been struggling to find a good way to post larger pictures on this blog. Simply dragging a corner to a larger size while editing does not yield a satisfactory result -- line edges often end up jagged. Last week I received an email from Richard Atwater, publisher of At The Water blog. (Which I recommend not only for bird photos but other topics he covers.)
He suggested a modification in the edit mode to create larger pictures. If you will look at my July 17th post, you will note that the first an last pictures are substantially larger. However, Richard's method did not work well on the pictures I posted yesterday -- they ended up being cropped. I then realized that I had not followed instructions: Richard points out that one needs to use a blog template with a stretch (or wider) format. If this interests you, Richard's instructions are posted on his blog.
Before doing anything, you may want to download your blog's template so that you can get back to the original format, should you want to do so.
I'm experimenting with trying to keep my blog's template, but modifying it to make the main text area wider; I think I may have the answer, but I quit after midnight last night as I was getting "fuzzy." If I'm successful, I'll let you know.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

more of Ospreys in flight

This concludes the Osprey photos I started posting last Sunday.
They're an amazing bird. I hope to get back to this pair soon.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ospreys in flight

Here are the Ospreys in flight that I've been posting about the past several days.

Both of the adults were present, but due to their fast flight it was nearly impossible to get them together in the same shot.

... a few more to come
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

conserving Boreal birds

A historically large land conservation announcement was released yesterday by the Ontario Government, with Premier Dalton McGuinty committing to protect at least half of Ontario’s Boreal Forest. The landmark decision established the protection of approximately 86,900 square miles – or 55 million acres – of Canada’s Boreal Forest. It also requires industries to consult with First Nations and environmental groups prior to developing land.
You can read more about this fantastic news on the Boreal Bird Blog.

coming home

I have finally edited some of the many Osprey shots I wrote about last Sunday.
Submitted for your perusal ...

Some flight shots next.
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

missed shots

For those of us (or am I the only one?) who tend to miss shots by a split second, the new Casio EX1 may the the solution. Read about it here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Last week went by in a blur, so this afternoon I spent some time at an Osprey nest by one of the local grade schools. The lighting wasn't great for most shots (backlighting), but I was so hungry for bird pix I took over 1,200 exposures. Let me tell you, it's a lot easier to shoot them off than to edit them. But it was fun!
Below is just one shot -- it may be a couple of days before I get to edit some more that are worth sharing. All were taken with my Canon 20D on a tripod with Canon's f5.6 400mm lens -- for some shots I added the 1.4x extender, but since it generally slows down the autofocusing I try to avoid it for flight shots.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Friday, July 11, 2008

great shot

Sometimes its talent, sometimes hard work, and sometimes dumb luck that leads you to a great shot.
-- anon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Canon EOS Rebel XS

More on Canon's newest and least expensive DSLR here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

no birds

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

more ID issues

Here are some left-over ID issues from earlier this week. Any suggestions?

This one caught my eye because of the long reed it's dragging. Click on the picture to see a larger version. American Coot maybe? -- but Coots don't have eye rings.

At first I thought this was a Cowbird, but the head didn't seem brown enough, particularly in the next shot.

This one has me stymied.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Friday, July 4, 2008

birds & trout?

Today I came across Troutbirder's blog and want to share it with you if you love commentary on our corner of the world and love nature in general. Check it out here.

4th of July

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What is it?

Yesterday, I was disappointed in not finding any Yellow-heads or Bobolinks -- but I did come across a number of birds I could not ID. I like to take pictures more than just watch birds -- that's why I don't keep any life list or those other check-off lists that seem to drive so many birders.

Yes, I know that's a Song Sparrow.

But what is this? Are sparrows (if that's what it is) changing into their fall camouflage already? I have 4 field guides on my desk -- and they didn't help.

And what is this? With the distinctive head & tail markings it should be easy to identify -- but I can't.
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


This morning I realized I had run out of current photos to post on this blog. What to do?
I decided to go back to the South Forest Lake location I've been writing about for the last week or so. I hoped to get better pictures of the Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Bobolinks in particular.
I spent 2 to 3 hours there and didn't see either species! I did find other birds I will post and ask you to help me identify. However, tonight I'm going to share some pictures of the many Killdeer that frequent the area.

(click on pictures to enlarge)