Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

White Pelicans

Near my house is a wildlife refuge called Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  Typically, in November there are a large group, or groups, of white pelicans that stop there along their migration.  They usually hang around a few weeks and then they are gone.  There are many other birds there, but the pelicans steal the show in early to mid November.

This past weekend I took the kayak out to Wheeler to see if I could find some pelicans.  These birds are pretty smart and usually stay away from the easily accessible areas.  Often times they are on the opposite bank, that is not accessible by road.  Hence the kayak. The kayak also allows me to get closer to the birds without stressing them out.  So a paddlin' I went.

Aperture Priority, F/6.3, 1/3200th second, ISO 400, Exposure Compensation -1/3

Another advantage of being in the kayak was I could pretty much place myself to be able to shoot in the best light.  So I would position myself with the sun to my back, front lighting the pelicans.  Once I was in position the camera part was pretty easy.  I shot these with my Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.  I made sure the camera was on continuous focus and high speed shutter.  Then I wanted to make sure my shutter speed was at least 1/1000th, which was pretty easy to do on this day.  I had my aperture wide open at F/6.3 and my ISO was set to 400.  This ended up giving me a shutter speed of 1/3200th...much faster than my desired 1/1000th speed.

I'll probably be making a few more trips out there before these birds leave, so stay tuned.

Sandhill Cranes

Yesterday I grabbed my Canon 7D and Tamron 150-600mm Lens and headed out to a local wildlife refuge.  Every year they get a large migration of Sandhill Cranes that stop off at the refuge and I had heard that they were there.

As I traveled over, I wasn't too fired up about the light as it had become quite overcast and drab.  Then once I got there I never found a place that I could really photograph them well from.  I got a few shots that I thought turned out ok when a large group of the birds got up and flew around a bit.

Since the sky was a no-nothing, gray, dull sky, I immediately thought the image would look better in black and white.  So after I processed the image in Lightroom, I finalized in using OnOne's Perfefct B&W 9.  I processed it with a bit of a high key look because I thought it fit this scene really well.

ISO 1600, 600mm, F/8, 1/1600th second

ISO 1600, 600mm, F/8, 1/1600th second

Although, I didn't come away with any award wining shots of Sandhill Cranes like I was hoping for, I got to see and hear thousands and thousands of these birds at one place.  That was worth it for me, because often times it's more about the experience than the photograph!