Teal Pond-Friday-11-30-2012

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Had a doctor’s appointment at 10 am so I made a pre dawn run to Riverlands. Started at Heron Pond. Was able to get some nice images of ducks,geese and some Trumpeter Swans. Lot of swans in the area. The COE has raised the water level in Heron Pond so the water is coming closer to the road. Hope to get some close shots later this season there. I moved to Two Pecan Trail as part of my homeward route. Mostly Canada Geese and mallards. Got some blast off shots that I need to process. Moved on to Teal Pond

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When I got to the Teal Pond, I set up in the NE Corner so I try and photograph the Goldeneyes and Hooded Mergansers. The Ringbill Gulls kept dropping into my sight lines. So, I snapped a few photos of them.



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The Goldeneyes and Hooded Mergansers finally came close enough to photograph. When I got home and started going through the morning’s images, this one caught my eye. I really like this image, hope you like it also..

Quick Turkey Day Post for George W

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George W maintains a photo log of the swans that use Riverlands. He shares the banded birds information with several biologists. So, he asks us to email him any images of banded birds. This is one from this morning. It is also the only banded bird that I saw. When George gets the information on this bird, I’ll post it.


Kathy O was out early as well. Wind from the south made all the take off’s,landings and fly bys made for some challenging photography.
Hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving Holiday.


BTW– my sbcglobal email must have got hijacked. I have changed passwords and made sure that all the safeguards are activated.

Swans On The Pond-Saturday & Sunday

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We were running just a bit late Saturday when we arrived at Riverlands. The swans that had roosted on the east pond at Two Pecan Trail had just lifted off when we pulled up. Based on a report from George G, we directly headed to the Heron Pond and set up.

Molly was using the 500, her ‘new’ lens, on her 40D. She also was making the transition to using a tripod/gimbal rig versus handholding .Considering that the 500 is a “horse” ( her term), the use of a tripod/gimbal is necessary until she gets used to its weight.

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Heron Pond had tons of ducks and geese…….and SWANS!!!!!!!! From sunrise until we left around 10 am, there were ducks,geese and swans coming and going with regularity. The easterly breeze gave us a fighting chance for decently lit subjects– even if it was as much side lighting as anything.



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Since all the area is restricted, you have to shoot from the road. Lens 400mm and up are recommended and crop sensor cameras are an ‘advantage’.




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I’m sneaking in an image I took Sunday morning with the 600 with 1.4 extender. Dense fog greeted me when I got to Riverlands. The slight breeze would move the fog through the ponds and the surrounding grass lands. When I was looking at the morning’s take, I liked this image. It may not be the best of the session but it gave me an old timey feel with the side/backlit birds and fog and the observation blind. Call it an old duck hunter’s memory shot.

Hope you got out and made a few memories of your own  this weekend.

Weekend Report 11-09 thru 11-11

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Had a late doctor appointment Friday so I ran out to Riverlands for a quick session. Found a good number of swans on the area. The pond just east of Two Pecan Trail had 5 swans. The pond that is between Two Pecan and Heron had the most swans on it but I was unable to get an accurate count for it. Their were no swans on Heron Pond until later in the morning. The swans on Heron Pond stayed for a about and hour and then moved to the pond that is between Heron and Two Pecan (east) ponds– see image.


Saturday,Molly and I were at Riverlands before dawn. Broken clouds were the rule until around 7:30 which made photography challenging. Ran into Jeff Kezele and we tried to get some good shots in the Two Pecan Trail area but decided to move to Heron Pond when the harriers decided to begin their patrol.

Wind was not optimal for flight images and the birds wanted to hang out at less than optimal distances. Big glass just really couldn’t offset the circumstances…even adding extenders.




 “Highlight” of the day was when the Audubon birders descended upon Heron Pond. Probably 30 plus birders. Several started to head for the water’s edge until George G yelled at them. Seems they did not read the many signs telling people that the area is off limits between October 15 and April 15.

Sunday was again a mixed bag. Clouds at dawn but then we got some good soft light with high cloud cover. One of  these days I will remember that just because you have a lens with a F4 aperture, you still need a good amount of light.

Caught three mallards as they passed one of the Pecan Trees heading for breafast. I still wish I had another stop of light but the image still works…. for me anyway.  🙂


New Stuff

“Big Doings” at the ranch. New Stuff came in this week.

NIK Software now loaded to the main lap top–

Dfine,Sharpener Pro,Viveza and Color Efex Pro. This is a sweet package…… when the filters work on an image. I like this set up better than the Topaz set but there is a HUGE difference in cost also between Topaz (reasonable price) and NIK (let’s just say the folks at NIK are ‘pretty proud’ of their stuff– justifiably but still pricey nonetheless). Learning this software requires watching a lot of their video tutorials since there is NO written documentation…. or help screen per se.

Biggest addition is the new 600mm F4 IS L III. Finally came in after ordering it 6 months ago. Kathryn Dow at Hunt’s stayed on top of this and when the latest shipment of 2 lens came in, she made sure I got one of them. This lens is different than the previous model and it will take some getting used to and practice to dial it in.

Gallery images–

Flying The Cutbank was actually a throwaway that I used to play with the NIK stuff– I’m kind of impressed that it came out pretty decently– image was shot with the “old 500” in not the best circumstances. Was aiming at an old school ‘painterly’ style effect like they used to have in old issues of Sports Afield,Outdoor Life and Field and Stream.

Titmouse Test 600– Molly shot this one with the new 600– not bad but we need to work on technique a bit  🙂  Actually, she just walked up and pretty much nailed it ( so much for needing work on technique)

Morning Buck was taken this am– Used the NIK filters to do some contrast work and add a bit of vignette but otherwise is just about straight out of the camera. Sharpened with my standard sharpening settings. Molly suggested the back drop color which was taken from the images browns. Could not resist the Drop Shadow and I posted it at one of the web sites I own for all my deer hunter friends since tomorrow is opening day for them.


Since the Trumpeter Swans didn’t cooperate……

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We got lucky and saw a gazillion pelicans. Haven’t had time to really work on the images but I did pick one and it is the featured image on the left.

George G sent an email saying he saw two Trumpeters in the Teal Pond last weekend (10/28/2012). When Molly and I made the drive up to Riverlands, sure enough there were 2 swans but they were at the far west end and even 700mm couldn’t make a decent image. By the time they decided to fly out, the light had gone and we didn’t get anything worth posting.

Latest report is that there are now 7 trumpeters.

George had a really nice image of them flying out of Heron Pond the other morning with the near full moon in the background. Forecast for Saturday morning looks like rain and clouds but it may break after noon. Regardless of the weather, we plan on going to see them– any photos will be gravy. 🙂