Nature and Photography Blog

OWL

New Website 2014 Schedule

We just finished our new website

It has a new photos. blog, and a 2014 schedule

http://www.sphotography.com

Check it out

 


See the Light

See the Light

Light Matters

Join us on a photo workshop or tour. See the Light

 


Weekly Photo Tips

 

Grizzly Bears and Cubs

Grizzly Bear and Cubs

Every week will be adding some new photography tips to our blog. I am going to target Wednesdays.

Please bookmark this page and check back often.

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Florida Photo Tour Wildlife List Feb 2012

Alligator Photo Workshop Florida

American Alligator

WILDLIFE  CHECKLIST: FLORIDA PHOTO TOUR

REPTILES:  American Alligator, American Crocodile, Anole, Red Bellied Turtle

MAMMALS: West Indian Manatee,  Raccoon, Eastern Gray Squirrel, White Tailed Deer, Dolphin,Doberman Pinscher

 DUCKS: Whistling-Duck, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, 

PODICIPEDIDAE — GREBES:  Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe

CICONIIDAE — STORKS:  Wood Stork 

PHALACROCORACIDAE — CORMORANTS: Double-crested Cormorant 

 ANHINGIDAE — ANHINGAS & DARTERS: Anhinga B 

 PELECANIDAE — PELICANS: American White Pelican, Brown Pelican 

 ARDEIDAE — HERONS, BITTERNS & ALLIES: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, □ Tricolored Heron,  Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret,  Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, 

THRESKIORNITHIDAE — IBISES & SPOONBILLS: White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill 

 CATHARTIDAE — NEW WORLD VULTURES: Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture 

 PANDIONIDAE — OSPREYS: Osprey 

 ACCIPITRIDAE — HAWKS, KITES, & EAGLES: Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered Hawk 

 RALLIDAE — RAILS, GALLINULES & COOTS: Purple Gallinule, Common Gallinule, American Coot 

 ARAMIDAE — LIMPKINS: Limpkin 

 GRUIDAE — CRANES: Sandhill Crane 

 CHARADRIIDAE — LAPWINGS & PLOVERS:  Wilson’s Plover, Killdeer 

 RECURVIROSTRIDAE — STILTS:  Black-necked Stilt

 SCOLOPACIDAE — SANDPIPERS, PHALAROPES & ALLIES: Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Sanderling,  Semipalmated Sandpiper

 LARIDAE— GULLS, TERNS & SKIMMERS: Bonaparte’s Gull, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Least Tern, □ Caspian Tern   

COLUMBIDAE — PIGEONS & DOVES: White-winged Dove  

STRIGIDAE —OWLS: Great Horned Owl,  Burrowing Owl, Barred Owl  

PICIDAE — WOODPECKERS:  Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker  

 TYRANNIDAE — TYRANT FLYCATCHERS: Eastern Kingbird  

 LANIIDAE — SHRIKES: Loggerhead Shrike  

 CORVIDAE — CROWS & JAYS: Blue Jay, American Crow  

 MIMIDAE — MOCKINGBIRDS & THRASHERS:  Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird  

 PARULIDAE — WOOD-WARBLERS: Ovenbird,  Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler

 CARDINALIDAE — CARDINALS & ALLIES: Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting,  Painted Bunting   

ICTERIDAE — BLACKBIRDS: Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Boat-tailed Grackle 

 PASSERIDAE — OLD WORLD SPARROWS : House Sparrow


Wild Florida Photo Tour Results

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill in Florida

Wild Florida Photo Tour Results 2011.  

I just got back from Florida last week. It was a long but exciting trip. It started out on a bad note when the Patriots lost the Superbowl. Thankfully each day got better. 

I spent many weeks preparing for this trip even though I have photographed Florida for almost 20 years. It is important to keep up with the recent wildlife reports. I check the internet, call and email other photographers, birders, biologist etc. I also monitor the water levels and tide charts. 

I drove down a week early to scout out the area. I checked on some eagle, osprey and owl nests.  Some of my most photogenic nests were vacant this year but I had other ones planned out. 

The tip started off in Fort Myers. Participants flew into the Fort Myers Airport and took a shuttle to the hotel. This group was a lot of fun. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time.  

The wildlife on this trip put on quite the show.  

Some of the highlights were 

  • Roseate Spoonbills (multiple locations)
  • Manatees (Everglades National Park and Big Cypress Preserve) one 10 feet away
  • Alligators (multiple locations) including Baby Alligators
  • American Crocodile
  • Some of the herons, egrets, anhingas, wood stocks, vultures, and cormorants were so close they were able to get head shots.
  • Pelicans: Both White and Brown Pelican were photographed. Some nesting, perched, and diving for fish.
  • Bald eagles: (multiple locations)
  • Nesting Burrowing, Great Horned and Barred Owls.
  • Purple Gallinule (Multiple locations Everglades)
  • Limpkin: (multiple days and locations)
  • Osprey: perched, in flight, nesting (multiple locations)
  • Red Shoulder Hawk (multiple locations)
  • Black necked Stilt (multiple locations)
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Painted Bunting
  • Watching hundreds of birds return to their rookery at night
  • The beauty of the Everglades, Sanibel Island, Big Cypress Preserve
  • Burrowing Owls (multiple nests)
  • Great Horned Owls (two locations)
  • A great sunset in the Everglades
  • Reddish Egrets
  • Ospreys nest building at Sanibel Island
  • The vultures at Myakka
  • Robert was Here: Tropical Drinks

 

It was sad to drop people off at the airport after the tour was over. 

Thank you all for the memories and laughs. 

 You never know what you are going to see in Florida everyday is an adventure. 

 I can’t wait for next year. 


Smart Phone Photo Apps for the Photographer

 

SNOWY OWL

SNOWY OWL

Who would have thought that a cell phone can improve your nature photography. When you buy a smart phone there are several options. One major choice is the operating system. Widows Phone and Blackberry have a large presence but two operating systems dominate the market. iPhone and Goodle’s Android System. 

Both options have thousands of applications. I found that the iPhone has more than Android. You can look online and check the apps you may be interested in before you choice a phone.

Android:  https://market.android.com/                

Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/us/genre/ios/id36?mt=8

I ended up going with the Motorola Droid Razor. It is a 4.3 high resolution display which is bigger than the iphone screen. It is one of the thinnest 4G phones and it is one of the most durable. Nature Photographers are exposed to the elements so I needed a phone that could take a beating.  It is shielded with a KEVLAR® strong backplate. Suppress an onslaught of scratches and scrapes, reinforced by Corning® Gorilla® Glass. It is also splashproof.

There are thousand of apps available (hundreds just for photography).

Some of the apps I installed include:

Weather Channel:  Allows you to save multiple locations for a quick glace at the weather.

Email:  Nice to check emails from the road and keep up with office work.

Facebook: Nice to be able to add to my facebook page from the road.

Amazon Kindle: ability to download ebook with just a few clicks to your phone.

Nlist:  Allows you to create lists.  Some of the lists I made

a.) To Do list

b.)  Photography Gear

c.) Shopping Lists

d.) Presentation list (what I bring when I do a presentation)

e.) Packing Lists.

Never forgot important photo gear at home.

Quick Office:  To view and update Office Spreadsheet like Excel and Word.

Backpacker GPS: Record hiking trails, backpacking trips, and camping adventures. View maps, navigate with digital compass, take photos, and backtrack to the trailhead. GPS Trails Lite works in remote places

Aurora: Several apps are available to get the northern lights forecast

Google Earth: view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. Helps you plan out the best locations for wildlife and landscape photography.

Google Sky Map: Point your phone at the sky, and it will show the stars, planets, constellations, and more to help you identify the celestial objects in view.

Sun Surveyor:  Predicts Sun & Moon positions (azimuth, altitude, time) with its modules: 3D Compass, Map View, Camera View (Augmented Reality) and Details (Ephemeris). Useful for photo location scouting plan for every sunrise and sunset!

The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE):  a map-centric sun and moon calculator: see how the light will fall on the land, be it day or night, for almost anywhere on earth. It is nice for landscape, nature, travel and outdoor photographers, TPE’s map-based approach means you can search for any place name on the planet or position the map pin exactly where you want it.

Trip Advisor: Great App helps with you travel planning. I use it mostly for hotel reviews

AAA TripTik: Get maps, directions, AAA Approved lodging and dining info, gas prices and more. 

Gas Buddy: Search for Gas Prices by city, state, zip code, with listings for all cities in the USA and Canada.

Kayak: flight, hotel, car rental, and other trip searches. Like the website it goes through the data from hundreds of different travel sites, allowing you to compare options, prices etc.

Photo Manipulation:  There are also several apps for taking pictures with you cell phone then making almost instant changes to the photo like built in HDR etc. I have never used any of these apps.

Wildlife: there are several apps on bird, tree, wildflowers identification, tracking, bird and animal calls. I hope to address this in a future article.

There are many applications which can help improve your photography. It is amazing how technology can impact nature photography.


New Hampshire Fall Tour

FALL FOLIAGE: NEW HAMPSHIRE SEPT 30-OCT 2 and or OCT 3-5
Join us as we travel to the beautiful White Mountains and Northern NH to photograph fall foliage. This is timed to see some of New England’s most beautiful places during the peak times. We will photograph mountains, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, reflections, birch trees etc. The subject matter is endless at this wonderful time of year.

There is also a discount if you mention this website.

Please visit our website or contact us for more information

http://www.sphotography.com/tours.htm


Great Gray Owl

The Watcher In the Woods

About this picture: Great Gray Owls are one of my favorite birds. When I photographed this bird it was perfectly parallel to the tree.  I then changed my locations to the side of the owl which was now totally blocked by the same tree.  What I was anticipating was the owl peaking around the tree and looking at me which he did.  This viewpoint gives you a sense of mystery since his face is partially blocked.

The Great Gray Owl is the largest owl in North America. The Great Gray Owl has a body length of about 24 – 33 inches, a wingspan of 4 1/2 – 5 feet, and weighs only 1 1/2 – 3 pounds, despite its large size. Great Gray lacks ear tufts and has a relatively large head and small eyes. Like other owls, the great gray owl has eyes that face forward. This gives it depth perception. Also, like other owls, one of its ear holes is higher than the other. This helps it identify the source of a sound, which is useful in finding prey.

 Great Gray Owls prefer dense forests interspersed with open meadows, clearings, or bogs. This owl lives in taiga, boreal, and mountainous forests of North America

The main food of this owl is small mammals, like voles, but it will also eat birds, amphibians, and insects. They hunt mainly during dusk and dawn (crepuscular) from a perch at the forest edge or in a clearing, but will also hunt at night (nocturnal) and occasionally during the daytime (diurnal). They have a keen sense of hearing and can dive in the snow and catch a rodent that was not even visible.

Even Though they are the largest of the North American Owls they are Great Horned and Snowy Owls are stronger and weigh more.