Visiting Huntley Meadows: Spring Fever

It was in the 70’s yesterday (20 degrees colder today) and we had spring fever. We normally take a walk on Fridays so we decided to take ours at Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County, VA. We go there two or three times a year. Only a few of the birds have returned, but we did see a hawk from years past.

We hand-held our cameras and used a mediocre (but versatile) Sigma 18-250mm lens on a Canon SL/2 to catch this shot. We have been trying this combination to get weight down when we travel. In our last trip to India, our luggage was overweight for a regional flight and the fee for the excess weight was almost equal to the fare.

As an aside, we processed this in Lightroom and tried the new “Enhance Details” option. Aside from taking a couple of minutes to process (the CPU was at 100% utilization), we couldn’t see any improvement in the enhanced image. Lightroom seems to be getting slower and slower without perceptible benefits.

Glass Harp — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Week 5 Photo – Music, guitar, instrument, men, coffee, etc.

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Week 5 Photo – Music, guitar, instrument, men, coffee, etc..

During a street photography field trip to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, we came across Jamey Turner playing his glass harp. From these stemmed glasses filled with water to various precise levels and strapped firmly to a simple table, he extracted beautiful classic and popular music with deft strokes of his fingers.

This photo was taken on July 12, 2016.  Specs are:

Canon SL1, ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/250 sec, 50 mm.

Early Spring flowers in sepia tone — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Flowers

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Flowers.

We were wandering through Green Spring Gardens this March looking for early signs of spring when we ran across these flowers.  The muted colors and beautiful forms made them excellent candidates for a sepia tone conversion.

This photo was taken on March 29, 2018. Specs are:

Canon SL2, ISO 100, f/7, 1/320 sec, 135 mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Woodpecker at Huntley Meadows Park

We have just come back from a visit to Ireland which is wonderful but chilly. Our weather at home has been nice, so we decided to enjoy it by taking a walk in Huntley Meadows Park.  We met two serious bird photographers as we walked and one of them pointed out a red-headed woodpecker building a nest. Even though we don’t have the extremely long lenses needed for the task, our general purpose zoom let us capture the following photograph. It shows a nesting woodpecker throwing wood chips in the air as it enlarges its new nest.

This photo was taken on May 9, 2018. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 320, f/16, 1/320 sec, 250 mm.

Takeoff!

Some new friends from our local photography club told us about Huntley Meadows Park, a local wetland area. It has a long winding boardwalk over a marsh area created by beaver dams. We have gone there a few times to walk and photograph. The following photo shows three of the many geese in the park taking flight.

This photo was taken on April 11, 2018. Specs are:

Canon SL2, ISO 100, f/8, 1/640 sec, 135 mm

Spring Birds at Huntley Meadows Park

We have been visiting Huntley Meadows Park looking for signs of what seems to be a late spring in the Mid-Atlantic.  In addition to the ever-present geese, a few new birds seem to be arriving each day. The following photos show a few of the birds we have seen. It has become clear to us that if we continue to photograph birds, we need a bird identification book!

A Little Birding

As we learn photography, we try different types of image capture. In Sri Lanka, we took a few bird photos while looking for elephants while on safari in one of their parks. Now that we are home, we decided to try to build on that experience to photograph birds in a local park.

The following photo is a hawk who is fishing over a lake near our home. We learned several things while photographing him (or her). The first is that we need a longer lens. We use an EF-S lens on our Canon camera that has a maximum focal length of 250mm. That doesn’t let us fill the frame with the bird. A second thing we learned is that autofocus (at least point focus on our Canon 200D’s) is nearly useless when photographing against a featureless sky. By the time the camera would lock focus on the hawk, it would be out of the frame.  We had to switch to manual focus selecting a focus point about 1/3 of the way into the scene to avoid focus lag. Finally, we realized that we should have adjusted the exposure to prevent the bird from silhouetting. Fortunately, we shoot in raw format and this could be partly corrected by adjusting the shadows in Adobe Lightroom.

We think a lot of this could be solved with different camera settings but knowing those settings will only come with experience. We don’t know if bird photography is one of our long-term goals, but it is interesting to learn the difficulty and problems solved for those whose passion it is.

 

This photo was taken on April 11, 2018. Specs are:

Canon SL2, ISO 100, f/11, 1/250 sec, 250 mm