Great Blue Silhouette

Today I'm sharing another image made at Viera Wetlands down in Florida.

Many times you arrive at a location before dawn.  While you can't really shoot any action you can take advantage of the sky back lighting some of the birds and use that opportunity to get creative.  Here I used the colors of the sky before sunrise to create a silhouette of the Great Blue Heron that was tending to her nest.

ISO 640, 600mm, F/6.3 @ 1/80th second

Hover over the image with your mouse to view the camera settings.  Click the image to view it larger.

If you look at the camera settings, you'll notice a pretty "slow" shutter speed.  Especially when we normally think of shooting birds.  Shooting a 600mm lens at 1/80th second does require a stable tripod.  Bear that in mind if you are out trying this.  Handholding at that shutter speed would not result in an image as sharp as using a tripod.

Another thing to keep in mind when shooting these silhouettes is I typically shoot these in aperture priority with multi-segment metering mode.  I then shoot them at about -1EV.  This allows for more contrasty colors in the sky and we aren't really looking for detail in our subject anyway so I am not worried about that.  

One last thing to remember when shooting these is how to properly read your histogram.  When you shoot these silhouette images, your histogram will be mostly to the left indicating not much shadow detail.  Great!  That's exactly what we are looking for.  In this case, the "perfect" histogram is all the way to the left.  Don't get hung up on your histogram needing to have the "perfect" bump in the middle while not touching either side.  That maybe perfect in some situations, but not if you're looking for a silhouette.  

This image made with my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  All mounted a top my Sirui tripod and Ph-20 Gimbal Head.

Osprey Tongue

On a day in The Viera Wetlands area down in Florida we got to spend time watching a few different osprey eat fish.  

This particular osprey we watched for over an hour.  He made pretty quick work of a fish he caught and brought back to this tree.  The other osprey we had watched on previous days would fly off the tree and take a bit of a swim to clean up right after eating his fish.  We kept waiting on this guy to do the same, but he never did.  He never left at all.  We were waiting and hoping for some flight shots, but instead after he ate his fish, he kept dancing around all uneasy like.  Then he would shake and then make this posture like he was trying to cough something up.

I thought it was hilarious.  It looks to me like hes screaming at something.  Or sticking his tongue out at the fish he didn't catch.

ISO 800, 600mm, F/6.3 @ 1/1000th second

Hover over the image to see the camera settings.  Click on the image to view it larger.

This image was made using my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  All my gear was resting on my Sirui P-324S Monopod with L-20S Monopod Head.

You sick of birds yet?

I hope not...I got tons more ;)

Today's image is of a Snowy Egret.  I photographed this guy at Viera Wetlands while down in Florida.  This guy was so much fun to watch.  He would run across the water and dive his head under water.  Apparently he was catching fish.  I wasn't able to see these fish he was catching while I was shooting.  This guy was so fast at catching the fish, throwing it to the back of his mouth and swallowing it that it was tough to see in real time.

Luckily, I was able to capture a frame or two with a tiny fish in his beak.

ISO 400, 420mm, F/6.3 @ 1/2500th second

Hover over the image to see camera settings.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Thanks to the 12 frames per second mode on the Sony A77 II, I was able to get these frames that I couldn't really see in person.

Also, since this was a white bird and it was in direct sunlight I had to dial down some exposure compensation in order to keep from blowing out the whites.  I shot this at -1 EV.  

This image was made with my Sony A77 II and the Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  All mounted on my Sirui P-324S Monopod with L-20S Monopod Head.