ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All materials on this blog are solely owned by Aaron Smith. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including copying, printing, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.
Welcome! I'm an amateur wildlife photographer from New York State. My specialty is nature and wildlife photography. I specialize in wildlife, birds, and landscape photography. This blog is where I share some of my photos and adventures. Please comment and post questions!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

0 Deep Freeze

Two weekends ago temperatures dropped below zero for a couple days, which did cause the reservoirs to almost completely freeze over.  This for me was a good thing, because it forced the eagles to be near the stream where I can get the closest to them.  The eagle numbers were the highest I’ve seen this winter, but still lower than normal.  I was seeing about ten eagles every time I went out. 

However I only managed a few photographs.  I was having problems with lighting.  With the lens I use it has a very high f-stop when at long range, which was causing problems with getting the proper lighting.  Also due to this, most of the time I had to use a 1600 ISO. Which I would prefer not to use because of the extra noise that it adds to photographs.  Also I was battling the sun all day.  It was either too bright or not enough.  It always seemed to sneak behind a cloud at the worst moments.  In addition I was having problems with the full mature eagles because there heads were overexposing, and I could not figure out how to prevent it, without the rest of the image being drastically underexposed.

Furthermore I had a day that when I arrived at the lake, there was a construction crew working on clearing brush and putting in new electric poles.  They were working right where the eagles roost and feed.  This really upset me, especially since they were running a chainsaw and making tons of noise.  There are signs that it is an endangered species area during the winter months because of the eagle population in the area during those months.  Also there are signs stating that outdoor activity will disturb eagles.  Yet they were out there working.  It just seemed like poorly timed construction work.  Due to there noise the eagles left the area for the day.  But the next morning they were back and it was the best day I had all week.   

During my trips last week I was also seeing much higher numbers of ducks.  I saw plenty of common mergansers, black ducks, and a few hooded mergansers.  But I also found two common goldeneye ducks, which I don’t normally see.  I also spotted a downy woodpecker, but he didn’t stay around for long.   

Towards the end of last week, the weather had started another warming trend.  It is quite crazy.  Temperatures fell to below zero and days later it climbed into the fifties, with average temperatures around freezing.  I am hoping that I continue to see more eagles, but I believe that the warm weather won’t help.  I guess at least I can look forward to the spring duck migration.  Until next time.           

Sunday, February 14, 2016

0 Change of Luck

So far this winter’s eagle season for me has been a complete bust.  I have been seeing small numbers of eagles, but nothing within range to photograph.  Due to the warm winter most of the water in the lakes and reservoirs is not frozen.  Which gives the eagle’s free roam of the area, and they mostly stay in areas where people cannot go.  But yesterday and today Mother Nature is throwing a curve ball, and dropping temperatures to zero and below, with wind chills in the -20 to -30's.  I am sure that the ice will form on the lakes, and tomorrow I hope that I will get a chance to spend most of the day out.  Maybe these extremely cold temperatures will be the change of luck that I need to get my first eagle photographs of this year.

Since it has been so bad with the eagle count, I decided that I would fill my bird feeders and see what I could get.  I have had a good amount of species visiting including cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, juncos, tufted titmouse, and nuthatches, but I have not seen the woodpeckers that I have seen in the past.

I also have had a hawk that seems to show up every time I fill my feeders.  I guess he likes easy prey.  I feel bad about the situation, but I don’t think I can do much about it.  If you watch him carefully he normally hides in the trees above my feeder and ambushes the other animals.  Last year he attacked a squirrel on the ground below my feeder and chased him up a tree.  It was crazy too watch.  I had never seen a hawk hop branch to branch up a tree and chase a squirrel.  In the end he managed to kill the squirrel just behind my fence.  Since then I have felt bad about filling the feeders but I guess it is only nature taking its course.  If anyone has ideas about stopping the hawk, please feel free to comment.  The only thing I could find was to not fill the feeders for a while and hope the hawk moves on.

I know that I have not been posting much, but I have not had many photographs to post.  So I think I will be trying to post more helpful hints and other things to fill the time in between my photographs.  If anyone has a topic that they would like me to try and cover, please leave a comment and I will try and cover it.  Until next time.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

0 Lunar Photography Attempt

It has been a while since I have made a post, but I have not had any photographs to post.  I have been having very few chances to photograph any wildlife.  So I decided to change gears a bit, and I tried to photograph the full moon about a week ago.  It has been a long time since I had done it, and since the last time I have gotten a better tripod and a gimbal head. So it was definitely easier this time around.  I was using my Bower 650-1300 mm lens for this though; because it is the only lens I have that can get close up to the moon.  I kind of wish I had a telescope I could hook my camera up too.  I was happy with the photographs but wish I had a better lens.  The Bower lens is not high quality, but for the price it’s great for me.  So because of the quality of the lens the photographs are more pixilated in my opinion.  After I took the photographs I did some processing, and maybe even too much processing, but I think they came out good.  My favorite thing about them is that if you look close enough you can see the craters, which you can’t see when you’re taking the photographs.  I think the next moon photograph I want to try is a crescent moon to see the difference from the full moon.  But I need a clear night to try it. 

Even though it has been a slow couple of months for me wildlife wise, I am looking forward to the winter.  I am hoping that this winter will be another productive eagle winter.  Last year I managed some of the best eagle photographs that I had ever taken.  I’m really excited that there migration will start soon.  I spend a lot of early mornings trying to take a photograph of these magnificent birds of prey.  But with my limited budget it makes it very difficult to photograph them.  Most of my long range photographs are taken with a manual focus lens.  So it is almost impossible to capture them in flight.  However last winter I did manage some flying shots with my 250mm lens.  The eagles came extremely close though, and that does not happen all the time.

I have seen several eagles lately and I hope that I continue to start seeing higher numbers.  I can’t wait, and I will try and post as often as I can over the winter about all my sightings.  Until next time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

0 Productive Outings

Finally I am starting to have some productive photography trips.  The last few I have been on were great.  The fall foliage is at its peak and the scenery is absolutely beautiful.   My most recent trip was the most productive.  I made my way to the Bashakill Wetlands and was hoping to find some warblers and other fall migrant birds.  I did get a glimpse at a few of them but didn’t manage a good photo.  Once I decided that birding was not going well, I changed to photographing insects.  I managed a couple shots of dragonflies and butterflies.  Most didn’t come out due to the harsh natural lighting.  There were no clouds and it made it very hard to control lighting.  After a while I remembered I had extension tubes in my camera bag, so I put two of the three on.  That’s when I saw this little jumping spider crawling up a boulder.  The spider was probably about the size of a pencil eraser.  The spider didn’t sit still very long so I only managed a few shots before he hopped off into the grass and disappeared.  I was pleased with the shot but I wish I could have gotten closer.  

While I was home after this I realized that maybe if I added the extension tubes and then attached my small lens reversed it might actually get me more magnification than I had with my 250 mm with the extension tubes on.  I plan on running a test to see if adding extension tubes to a reversed lens lets you stay a little further from the subject.  I’m hoping this is the case because with the reversed lens you have to get so close to the subject that it’s almost impossible to do, because the wild animals don’t stay when you get that close.  I hope that the upcoming week is as good as this one.  I hope everyone enjoys the photographs.  Until next time.    

Monday, July 27, 2015

0 Dragonflies and Snakes

I know it has been almost three months with no posts, but I finally had a productive trip last week.  I spent several days at Hickok Brook multiple use area and was pleased to find an abundance of dragonflies.  I did manage to photograph several different colored dragonflies but one stood out.  It was very different than I have ever seen.  Its wings were segmented with white lines instead of black.  I plan on going back there soon to try and capture some more dragonfly photographs.

Hopefully I will get a few sunny days and the rain will stay away.  Also I'm posting a photograph of what I believe is a garter snake but it may be a ribbon snake.  That photograph was taken at the Bashakill Wetlands a while back and was never downloaded off my camera, so I figured I would include it.

It seems like everywhere I go I run into a few snakes.  Hope I never run into any poisonous ones.  Although a photograph of a rattlesnake would be cool, I think I would rather not see any.   I'm hoping that my next trips are as productive as the last.  Hope you enjoy the photographs.  Until next time.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

0 Unproductive Outings

It has been a while since I have posted but I have not been able to manage any photographs lately.  I have been on many trips and have been seeing a lot of different species of birds and animals but have not been able to manage a good photograph.  I have been to the Bashakill Wetlands several times and the numbers there have dropped in the recent weeks.  I did see some Great Blue Heron's and several different duck species.  However none were close enough to get a shot.  This week I went out to the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge at the Liberty Loop Trail and I could not get close enough to anything.  I did see a few Heron's, mallards, and a lot of sandpipers in the back section of shallow water.  I also saw the common suspects for this time of year included red wing black birds, sparrows, and robins.  I am hoping to start seeing more colorful birds in the coming weeks.  I would love a photograph of some cedar wax wings or even warblers or Baltimore oriels.  Hopefully soon one of my trips will be productive and I can get some new photographs uploaded.  Until Next Time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

0 Bashakill Wetlands and Black Dirt Region Trips

Last week was a fun week.  I took several trips to the Bashakill Wetlands and out to the black dirt region of Orange County.  I saw a ton of different animals while out.  In the black dirt region there were tons of Canadian geese and snow geese in fields.  None close enough for me to photograph.  Also in the black dirt region there were a lot of different species of hawks.   Red wing black birds were also plentiful in the area.  However I did not see many species of ducks.  On the way back home from Orange County I pulled over to photograph two mute swans on a frozen pond.  That almost turned out to be a mistake because a state trooper pulled me over when I got back on the road.  Thankfully he was just checking to make sure I was not broken down.  He didn't realize there were mute swans on the pond where I was pulled over.  When he realized that I was photographing the swans and he saw my camera, we had a long conversation about photography.  I’m just happy the swan photographs didn't cost me a ticket.  

On several trips to the Bashakill Wetlands I saw plenty of wildlife, which has only gotten better every week due to the ice melting.  I did get to see my first Great Blue Heron of the year.  He was hiding in the reeds which didn't make for the best photographs.  Also at the Bashakill I have been seeing some bald eagles.  I’m worried that the nesting pair near the boat launch is not going to have any chicks this year because they are not staying on the nest.  I believe by this point there should always be one tending the eggs and both have been off the nest at the same time.  I’m hoping to get out more this week and hopefully see more species of migratory ducks because last week was a slow week for ducks.  I will try and post again by the end of the week about my trips.  Hope you enjoy the photographs.  Until next time.   
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...