Beyond the Backyard

Silly Bird, Turn Your Head This Way!!

Posted on

After spending a cloudy morning cooped up in the house yesterday, the sun came out and I decided to head to Merritt Island to experiment with afternoon light at the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive. It was less windy than the previous day, and the birds were closer to the trail. The afternoon light was incredible! I had to work hard to get good head angles, though — the silly birds kept looking away! There were at least fifty Roseate Spoonbills along the trail. Most of them were on the wrong side of the road, and badly backlit. A few flew over my head, but my flight shots were bird-butt. Then I came across this beautiful bird in full breeding colors, almost right next to the trail! He spooned back and forth for me in the wonderful afternoon light. I liked how the mangrove was in the background, and how the whites of the spoonie contrast with the shadows. I tried and tried to catch him tossing a fish into his mouth, but I didn’t get the shot. Maybe next time! My friend Donna had said that the afternoon light was best for trying to photograph the Northern Pintails, a duck that […]

Beyond the Backyard

Another Great Sunrise at the Circle B Bar Reserve

Posted on

Dyeyo and I tried something a little different this morning.  We arrived at the Circle B Bar Reserve about fifteen minutes before sunrise, and we parked in the lot right at the entrance to the reserve.  Then we hiked out to Wading Bird Way on the Windmill Whisper trail.  We got to the crossroads right at sunrise. I enjoy doing HDR at sunrise because of all the varying tones.  The skies are light, with bright patches around the sunrise.  The ground is dark, especially the immediate foreground.  I use Photoshop to combine +/-2 stop exposures into a single image, then I use Curves to adjust the light tones.  Usually I end up adding a bit of light in the mid-tone region to make the images “pop” (to me they feel a bit 3-D). I really enjoy photographing the sunrise over Lake Hancock, where the water seems to make the sunrise color more brilliant.  I wanted to get the same effect looking out over the marsh.  The marsh is covered in fog most mornings now, and it was beautiful. Dyeyo and I have noted a smaller population of American White Pelicans roosting on Wading Bird Way in the mid-mornings in the […]

Beyond the Backyard

What’s Going On Up There?

Posted on

There were plenty of birds in the skies this afternoon at the Circle B Bar Reserve! I got there around 3:30 and hiked Heron Hideout, Marsh Rabbit Run, and Wading Bird Way.  The American White Pelicans are back and roosting on the water at Wading Bird Way!  Yay! When I first arrived, the skies above the parking lot were filled with Turkey Vultures.  There had to have been at least fifty swooping in the wind.  They were actually quite pretty as the sun caught their wings and made them glisten.  This was my favorite picture, because of the wings, although I wish the bird had turned his head towards me at the same time. The bushes on the edges of the paths have died back, due to the recent cold weather.  It makes it easier to spot the little birds hopping around in the brush.  The Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers stand out nicely with their gray feathers against the brown bushes.  They are so small, fast, and friendly — I’ve actually had to attach an extension tube because the birds got so close that they were within my minimum focusing distance on my 400mm lens.  I enjoyed watching this guy fluttering around, […]