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Old Jun 30, 2010, 12:59 AM   #1
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Default Cygnets, a nymph, and a couple of Jumpers 7 imgs

Hi All,

In an attempt to control the Canada Geese, my condo complex hired a company that brings a pair of flightless Mute Swans to our lake every spring. Apparently, Swans are very territorial in defense of their young, and won't allow any geese nearby, but after five seasons, this pair hadn't produced any offspring, and though there weren't many geese, there were always a few. This year is different -- no geese, only some Mallards and a few gulls. . . I noticed that the adults were taking turns at the floating nest box they anchored in the lake, but I hadn't been paying much attention for the last couple of weeks, mostly because of the weather. I was surprised to see not only the adult pair, but two cygnets when I went for a walk the other morning. They were pretty big, so I knew they'd hatched a while ago, and I'd missed it. . . This is the only shot I could get with both the adults and the cygnets.



One is gray and the other is white. While I was standing there observing them, the gray one came up out of the water and approached me, followed closely by one of the adults -- and came close enough for this shot. . .



You'll have to cut a little slack on the resolution -- both of these were shot at ISO 3200 -- it was just before 6:00am -- not a normal shooting situation/time for me. . .I used a pretty heavy application of TD4 and Focus Magic to process. . . worked pretty well I'd say. . .

I returned much later in the day, and both the adults and the babies were bedded down in a clover patch, munching away. They just kept eating while I circled them and got some shots. They didn't seem to mind the intrusion, and might still be eating. . .



Then, today I went to the Nature Center to see ready for either bird or critters. I saw a few Jumping Spiders, so I put together the macro setup and waited. It seems like they spend a lot of time holed up in the cracks between the siding slabs, but come out to do a little hunting every once in a while.




While I was sitting on the ground in front the center waiting for the JS to reappear, I spotted a tiny red orange dot on a Lilly leaf right in front of me. My very close vision has not been very good, so I just look for differences in brightness and color when looking for critters. . . anyway I looked at it through the VF, and was surprised to see this guy.



Here's another angle



It seems to be the nymph of a variety of Leaf Hopper. It was very small, @ 1/8" or about 2-3mm long. Pretty cool!

I've heard reports of some potentially interesting birds in the area, but haven't seen many -- the heavy rains during the spring have resulted in very heavy foliage, and I can hear, but rarely spot any songbirds. . .

Scott

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Old Jun 30, 2010, 1:38 AM   #2
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Some really lovely shots in that series Scott !

The swans are lovely of course but the 2nd JS is excellent ... as are those of the nymph, a really interesting little creature, great colours and eyes !
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 3:41 AM   #3
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Wow great series, going from rather big to rather .... small, guess they are all my favorites.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 4:21 PM   #4
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Looks to like you had an outstanding day, Scott!
Good job
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 9:19 PM   #5
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Wonderful series! You've been having way too much fun with your macro rig, the results are outstanding (though the nymph is downright ugly, almost scary looking).
The swan babies are my favorite, now those are much cuter babies.
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 3:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogfish View Post
Some really lovely shots in that series Scott !

The swans are lovely of course but the 2nd JS is excellent ... as are those of the nymph, a really interesting little creature, great colours and eyes !
Hi Kevin,

Thanks!

The nymph was the coolest find. It was just a speck of color on the leaf until I looked at it through the camera. I was really shocked that it looked a bit like a pinhead sized grasshopper.

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Wow great series, going from rather big to rather .... small, guess they are all my favorites.
Hi Ronny,

Thanks!

I've still got a way to go before I feel I'll really be competent at macro shooting. I gave myself a couple of big advantages with the big Sigma and the 1.7x AFA. They cover a lot of rookie mistakes, but handling the big lens makes it harder -- but luckily, I'm used to that part. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldwinger View Post
Looks to like you had an outstanding day, Scott!
Good job
Hi GW,

Thanks!

A good couple of days indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Wonderful series! You've been having way too much fun with your macro rig, the results are outstanding (though the nymph is downright ugly, almost scary looking).
The swan babies are my favorite, now those are much cuter babies.
Hi Harriet,

the macro stuff is fascinating. With the birds, it's just a matter of seeing how close I can get, but I generally know what I'm shooting, and it's really a matter of getting the op, then waiting for a good pose. With the macro stuff, I see what looks like a crumb of bread, and it turns out to be a very complex critter -- then I need to get the shot --

The nymph is intimidating-looking, but then you realize that it's the size of a pinhead, and it's not nearly as scary. . .

I'm a bit surprised that there's been no comment about the ISO 3200 in the first two shots -- I was pretty amazed at how well they turned out. I will reserve using it for times when I just want to get some kind of shot, but these will actually print pretty well at a reasonable size.

Scott
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Old Jul 1, 2010, 6:36 AM   #7
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Scott - Indeed amazing detail and quality in those high ISO shots - my favorite is the grey "adolescent" - such fine color and great composition too. Macro shots are wonderful & sharp - nymph especially cute!
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 1:11 PM   #8
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Nice tack sharp shots!
The nymphs are really cool!
And the iso3200 shots are really good. It didn't even register when I looked at them that they were high iso.
Take care,
Glen
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Old Jul 9, 2010, 1:40 AM   #9
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Missed this one earlier - As you noted, Swans can be tough customers in defense of their territories and young - they have been known to react to people getting too close, too (which may be why the nest box was put on the middle of the lake!). Lucky for you these were tolerant of people, and let you get such good shots. And that nymph is outrageous - both in its color and posture - I wonder why it raises its abdomen like that - perhaps to make itself look bigger when threatened - although it looks like they might, I don't know that it can squirt anything noxious from that end, though.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 9:28 AM   #10
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I've never seen baby swans before. So cute. For ISO3200 these are great.

The local goose pond that has couples every year, put a sign up to stay off the property. I used to stop by every day and track their progress.

Patty
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