Wednesday, March 31, 2010


As promised, I told you all I'd post a photo of the Eaglets. This may or may not be the best shot I have; I still have to look through the (too) many photos I took of them. I've been shooting pretty much non-stop since yesterday morning.

I got up yesterday and went out to see if I could catch the Eaglets on top of the nest where I could shoot them. I stayed for about an hour and got a lot of shots. In one or two of them I caught the older of the two Eaglets trying to fly from branch to branch. If you look closely, you can see the smaller one with his beak open just under the branch to the left of the big one. I got some shots of the Eaglet try to fly from branch to branch, (I'll post when I get caught up with my editing). In the afternoon, I went on a shoot with my friends, Frank and Ford, in downtown St Petersburg. This morning, I went on a shoot with my Meetup Group, The Florida State Photography Meetup Group.

Ten of us went out to Hillsborough River State Park from 9:30 until 1:30 today. I will tell you I have a lot of photos to edit just in the last 2 days! Not to mention that I'm still working on a VIP event I just shot Friday night. I guess I'd better get started.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bald Eagle

I guess it must seem to you all that I'm on another bird kick again. This is another shot of the Bald Eagle guarding her nest here in St Pete. I still haven't been able to get off a good shot of her Eaglets. According to my friend, Jim, they still haven't fledged as of last week. He was able to catch the Eaglets and one of them is still too small to fledge. I just have to get there early enough when they're feeding so I can catch a shot of them.

I have tomorrow morning off, so if I can get a decent night's sleep I'll be heading there first thing when I get up. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a shot of her babies.

We've been having some bad weather here again and both days I was off, it was raining. I sure hope I can get over there in the morning.

Update on my little Mottled Duck family: I haven't seen any of them since their first day out. I'm beginning to worry. I'm hoping to see them tomorrow while I'm off. Wish me luck--or rather, wish them luck. There's so many Hawks and that 'gator here I'm praying they'll make it long enough to fledge.

That's it for me tonight. If I'm going to get up early, I'll have to go to bed early.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicks First Day Out

Every year the Mallards, Mottled and Black Ducks come here to mate, raise their families and fly back to where ever they go once the chicks have fledged. And, every year we have a few more with the ones who survive.

This year is no exception. They always nest in the same place and they always bring their chicks to each lawn on their first day out. Last Saturday was their big day--or debut, so to speak. I was sitting on the patio when this Mottled pair spotted me and brought their chicks over to meet me. They're just so adorable. Be sure to click on the photo to bring up a larger size so you can really check out these cute little chicks. This must be one of the pairs who fledged last year, because the brood is so small. Usually, they have 12-15 chicks and only 4 or 5 make it before the 'gators and Hawks get them. So far, I've seen all 5 every day this week, so they're safe for now. I don't know how many will make it this year. Within about 3 - 4 weeks, they'll be as big as the mother. They grow so fast. For now, I'll just enjoy the cute little peeps I hear when they visit.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Red-bellied Woodpecker

While watching the Eagles last week, I was distracted by the call of this Red-bellied Woodpecker in a nearby tree. Being the bird lover that I am, I figured since nothing much was happening with the Eaglets, I'd go check out the call.

Well lo and behold, I found him perching in this tree calling what I assume is his mate, since this is Spring. He let me get fairly close, so I could get this shot. Then he took off as soon as he spotted the camera pointed in his direction; but not until I was able to get this nice shot of him. He was an obliging little fella.

There's something in me that just won't let me ignore the call of a bird--any bird. I hear it, I need to get a shot of it. It's just that simple.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Playing Around With HDR

This scene was made at John Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor. If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love to photograph bridges and I love this one.

The scene was kind of bleak, so I decided to play around with it in Photomatix. It was a 3-shot combination at eV +1, 0 and -1. I combined the RAW files in Photomatix, then brought it back into Lightroom to tweak it a bit more.

While I'm not a fan of artsy HDR, I do like natural-looking HDR and this was the effect I was going for here. I've posted this before, but not on this blog. I would like a good critique from some of you other photographers out there. I'm particularly interested in what your initial impression of the shot is and any suggestions you can think of that would be helpful.

Thank you all in advance. I'm looking forward to your response.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


With Spring FINALLY arriving in the Tampa Bay area, I thought I'd post a sure sign of Spring in these parts.

This Rose was in the garden at Veterans' Memorial Garden at the Safety Harbor Marina a couple weeks ago when I went out for our regular Monday Night Meetup.

I love the smell, texture and color of Roses. The ones people buy from florists are beautiful, but they're too perfect. This is the kind of Rose most people plant in their gardens. Not only are they beautiful, but their fragrance can only be topped by Orange blossoms, as far as I'm concerned. The bees love them though, so I need to be careful around them because I'm allergic to bee stings.

I know, you're all thinking about how many bees I photograph--I do it with a very, long lens. Usually, bees aren't intimidated by lenses being poked in their faces. They're too busy going about their business. Just imagine without bees and butterflies, we wouldn't have such beautiful flowers in our gardens.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lemon Macro

During our regular Monday Night Meetup a couple weeks ago, we were all fooling around with macro photography at the Safety Harbor Grille after dinner.

One of our members, Lyman, made a macro using the bottom of a glass. That started the ball rolling. We were photographing everything left on the table. I got out my Tamron 90mm macro lens and joined in on the fun.

This lemon is one of my favorite shots from the evening. It was garnishing a glass of water, so I had to be careful not to include the glass.

This shot was made hand held inside the restaurant patio at ISO 800, because of the low light and the lack of a tripod to steady the camera, 1/250 at F8 for better depth of field in aperture priority mode with partial metering on the lemon and used the on-camera flash at -1 stop so it wouldn't wash out. I'm thrilled at how well it came out considering the circumstances.

The great thing about digital is that it costs nothing to experiment. This is one shot, I'd have probably passed up because of the low lighting conditions and the lack of tripod.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bald Eagle

While I'm recovering from my broken foot, I had to cut my hours at work, so I have some extra time on my hands. Today I went to check on a local Eagle nest. The Eaglets are getting bigger and the word is that they're ready to fledge. I didn't see the Eaglets today at all. I probably went at the wrong time.

This is either the mother or father; I think they look the same--at least to me, they do. She/he was preparing to take flight, so I waited and waited and got lucky. As luck would have it, I got the second shot just as she/he was lifting off. There's some motion blur due to panning to keep her in my viewfinder. They lift off so fast.

Their nest is huge! It's hard to tell from these shots, but it's enormous. I'll be sad when they leave the nest. It's been a lot of fun watching them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Little Green Heron

While at the Safety Harbor Marina with my friends from my photography group, the Florida State Photography Meetup Group, we spotted this Little Green Heron on the branches under the mangroves.

Little Green Herons are very shy and rarely come out when people are around. They usually hide out on the edges of the water in heavy cover when they're fishing for their prey. Tonight was no different except this one was spotted by someone in our group. We all used our longest lenses so we wouldn't disturb him trying to capture him capturing his dinner. It didn't work out that way, though. He spotted us and moved on. I was lucky to capture this image.

Friday, March 12, 2010


If you're all wondering where I've been all week, I've been very busy editing a wedding I shot with my friend, Mark, last Sunday. It was actually Mark's wedding and I was the second shooter. This is one of my favorite photos of the bride, Melissa. She definitely made a beautiful bride; I'm sure you'll all agree. We only covered the formals and the actual wedding. The bride's father videotaped the reception afterward.

This wedding was held at the beautiful Tampa Palms Country Club in Tampa, FL.

It was a good thing the father was shooting the reception, since I shot this with a broken foot. I didn't get my cast until this Thursday, and I can tell you, with dress shoes on and walking in the grass on uneven ground, it really hurt. But, a commitment is a commitment, no matter what, so I took lots of Ibuprofen and forgot about the pain until I was all done. What a relief that was.

This was an afternoon wedding and the lighting was pretty difficult with the bright sun. Thank God for the luxury of shooting RAW files. The bride wanted to show the scenery behind her in all the photos. It was the reason she chose (and paid dearly for) this country club. I can't say that I blame her. It was beautiful.