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Old Aug 17, 2005, 12:26 AM   #1
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These two shots were taken almost exactly 3 hours apart. The first is at 4:09am during sunrise. I've always read that sunrise happens faster than sunset, and they are right. I really didn't have much time before the interesting light was gone. Sure, there was still some orange, but it just wasn't the same. The shutter speeds were so low I was surprised that I was able to stop the bird (1/40th.) I have some with a better orange/red color but the head is in motion as it fed. Oh well. I like this one too, darn it!

This second was taken at 7:03 at the same pool. I was on the way home from shooting at a state park. It is a known stop over for shore birds during the fall migration. It's a pool that fills at high tide and then drains. The birds love to appear as the water goes down, as it is exposed faster than the river near by. This pool is right next to an important (but small) road, so I had the fun of shooting this while trucks and cars were driving by at 50mph and up. It didn't bother the birds, and I got used to it (eventually.)

I didn't get a shot of it, but just as I put my gear back in the car (happened about 5 minutes to late) an American Kestrel made a run at the shore birds and sent them all into the air. It caught a small sandpiper. I feel lucky to just have been looking in the right direction to see it all.

4:09-5:00
1/40 f8 600+1.4 ISO200
Picture 1:
Camera: 20D, 600mm f4 + 1.4TC f8 1/40 ISO200 on tripod flat to the ground.
PhotoShop: RAW convert, contrast, hue & saturation a touch (and this still isn't as red as when it happened), crop, reduce, selective sharpen

Picture 2:
Camera: 20D, 600mm f4+1.4TC F/6.3 1/500 ISO200, 550EX on tripod flat to the ground.
PhotoShop: RAW convert, contrast, crop, reduce, selective sharping.

Eric
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 11:18 AM   #2
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I like them both very much Eric. Super job!
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 11:35 PM   #3
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I love the second one, the reflection is super, and the exposure, even on the narrow light areas, is perfect. Very moody work, nice job.
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 12:03 AM   #4
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Ya, its the reflection in the second one that makes it work. The head seems a touch out of focus, but I'm not positive.

Either way, I thought it was kinda fun to shoot at the same place and get such different images.

Glad you both like them.

Eric
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 6:48 AM   #5
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nice shots, I like the daytime shot best:-)
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 8:39 AM   #6
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Hi eric - both really lovely shots. I notice the others have so far said they like the daytime shot the best but I'm a sucker for the light at sunrise or sunset so just to be contrarian I'll say that I like the sunrise shot the best!

I always find it so neat when I get to witness an event that is little seen, like you did. In fact, I've been wanting to move my bird photography in the direction of getting the more extraordinary events rather than the usual avian images we see. That means I get a lot less shot opportunities but, oh well...
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 12:38 PM   #7
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Glad you two like it.
For me it's the color and light that make the shot.
But I love the reflection of the second one. Anyone who has tried to get a "perfect" reflection (smooth water, no obstructions) knows how hard it is. This is really close.

Actually, don't think about that limitation at giving you less opportunities. Instead, think about it as an excuse to go out more (if you can.) Part of what gets people good shots is going out a lot (opportunity) and being ready (practice/skill.) Of course, it isn't only those things, but you know what I mean. And while you're out there, take some of the "normal" shots, because heck.. they are birds and who doesn't like to take a shot or two of them? (Ok, I admit I'm biased!) And while you're getting that shot something might just happen.

You all remember this shot from last winter?
http://esmith.marx7.org/galleries/wi..._and_fish6.jpg
My goal was to catch the bird tossing the fish into the air (to align the fish with its throat) and then suddenly this black-backed gull showed up and I got a treat! Its part of a series of shots that can start here:
http://esmith.marx7.org/galleries/wi...and_fish1.html

I do agree, though, that there are so many common shots that the desire for doing something "different" is there strong in me too.

Eric
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 2:30 PM   #8
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Eric, I've got a folder full of more normal (and downright just putrid) avian shots to prove that I still click away. But, I think that it's more a matter of not wanting to actually be moved to print up or post images that are too much in the mainstream. I want what I post to be out of the ordinary as there's already loads of the other available to see. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the normal shots of birds we see - I find birds to be compelling in their beauty and behavior and song and so I appreciate all of the images.

I hadn't seen your shots of the cormorant/gull face-off before. Those are really neat and thanks for providing the link to them! Of course, we see who won the battle... :roll:
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 8:57 AM   #9
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I can attest to having loads of ok images myself. Thousands of them. It is just so hard to go through and cull them... they are my babies.

Part of the reason I don't post as often is that I want the images to be more interesting, and that is a much harder thing to achieve. Good luck in getting those unusual shots!

Glad you liked that series. It's one of those fun unplanned moments that I'm happy I caught.

Eric
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