Lake Day

The weather was sunny and warm – the perfect weather for a lake day. So I woke up early, packed up my gear, and embarked on a photography quest. My hope for the day was to practice photographing birds in flight; although the wildlife at the lake had other plans.

There were not many birds flying, but I did manage to get a few decent photos. My primary subjects were Double-crested Cormorants. They spent most of their time diving into the water and feasting of fish. Slightly awkward flyers, the Double-crested Cormorants would occasionally take off from the water and fly low across my field of view.

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Double-crested Cormorants
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/2000th, f/4, ISO 320
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Double-crested Cormorant in Flight
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/2000th, f/4, ISO 250

There were some other birds out on the lake. I stumbled upon and startled either a Great Blue Heron or a Green Heron, which promptly flew out of my field of view. I also managed a few decent photos of a Wood Duck mating pair.

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Wood Duck Mating Pair
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/250th, f/4, ISO 100
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Wood Ducks in Flight
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/250th, f/4, ISO 100

I woke up early so that the sun would be low in the sky, and shot from the east side of the lake. This way my subjects would be front lit, revealing the most possible detail. However, at best any birds in flight would travel perpendicular to my camera, and more often than not they would fly directly away. I’m not sure why this is the case. Either I startled the birds and need to blend in better with my environment, I was shooting from the wrong locations, or was simply not patient enough at any one location. Or perhaps a combination of all three. The only picture I managed to get of a properly lit bird flying towards me was of a large crow – not the most photogenic of birds. After this experience I am setting a goal to learn more about approaching birds and predicting their flight patterns.

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Canadian Geese
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/250th, f/4, ISO 640

Some of my best pictures from the day came quite unexpectedly. Driving between locations I stumbled upon a gaggle of Canadian Geese with several goslings. They were hesitant of my presence at first, but became comfortable enough in time to venture out of the tall grass. Later in the day, as I was walking from the lake back to my car, I saw an old tree with some interesting decay patterns. Then all of a sudden a tiny face popped out of the center hole and stared right at me! After sizing me up for a few minutes, a group of young squirrel siblings resumed their play. So while the day was not the birds-in-flight success I was hoping for, I still have something interesting to leave you with.

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Adolescent Gray Squirrel
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/2000th, f/4, ISO 800
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Adolescent Gray Squirrels
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/2000th, f/4, ISO 800
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Adolescent Gray Squirrels
Canon T3, Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM
1/2000th, f/4, ISO 800

 

 

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