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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

World Bird Wednesday LXXXII



Catch of the Day
Michigan's wetlands are full of life. Insect, plant, and fish production is in full swing and the herons have arrived to take advantage of it. The trick, of course, is finding them.  The American bittern, to your right, is a real find. They stalk the reed beds hunting for fish and reptiles that make up their diet.  When Bitterns sense they have been spotted, they freeze, their head and slender neck held high imitating the long leafed cat tails. Take your eye off of them for an instant and poof, they melt into the back ground.
    Other of the local herons are not so reclusive; such as the Green, Blue, and Night herons. These birds simply fly away the moment they detect your presence. While it's tough enough getting a clear shot, lighting conditions further complicate the challenge of capturing these waders. Back-lighting has always been a problem for me. I like to have the sun over my shoulder, but who doesn't?
    It seems like I see birds quickly after entering a patch and not so much later. I take pains to plan a route that optimises lighting angles and make sure to click off a few test shots before taking the plunge. Thing is, my exposure might be set for shadow play but what happens when suddenly, a spooked heron takes to flight in a super bright sky, can I remember to change the shutter speed on the fly?
    Since bird photography is still, and always will be, the art of the happy accident I wonder; what do you do to prepare mentally and technically for a day of photography? Of course, nothing happens unless your out there trying!

P.S.
    The thumbnail board that is created by adding your blogs to WBW is an amazing display. Your artistic bent has taken thumbnail composition unto the next level. Thank you for your kind participation as a World Birder and creating this fantastic virtual quilt!
   
      

This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!




#1Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW. http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/


#2Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.


#3Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compatriots!

Come on it's your turn!

42 comments:

  1. the night-heron is beautiful (as is the juvie in your header). but i love that GBH!

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  2. Your Headers are always AMAZING!!!That shot of the heron with the fish is stunning.Have a great day!

    Shantana

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  3. Gorgeous shots! I love the first one with the old branch as a roost. Sometimes no matter how much to try to prepare, things happen you just can't anticipate. But being prepared is still half the battle. Being out there is the other half.

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  4. Throwing your talent into the mix assures we always get a wonderful WBW post! :)
    Your first shot today is my favorite! Love the colors, the detail - especially those claws.

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  5. Great shots! I've spent time stalking these same birds so I know how hard you worked to get these. Excellent!

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  6. Your pictures are wonderful as usual. I have seen one Bittern in my lifetime and unfortunately he wasn't close enough to get a good shot. Had to watch him through a scope. These Pictures show detail I couldn't have imagined. Beatiful job ... and if you figure out how to change your settings on the fly, share it. I have never been able to occomplish it.

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  7. What I do to prepare? Well, first of all I have to check if there are any birds at all around. I am not spoiled with great birding sites where I live. Almost every time I go out of my door the camera, with it´s 500mm lens, is on my hip. Ready to shoot like a gun. And then a Canon powershot is in my pocket. As I learned photography in the old days I take a look at the present weather and then set the cameras accordingly. If I expect birds, then I have a high ISO for short exposure times. I rather have a bad shot then none. And time is short when you spot them. Mostly anyway. For ducks and grebes there are usually time for planning a bit. For birds in the sky I mostly set the camera on manual focus. If I use autofocus then, I won´t get any shots becuse the camera is just buzzzzzzing. Have a great birding week.

    Sorry for deleating one comment, there were to many fingerslips. :(

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    1. I don't use anything but the manual setting. On my Canon Dslr the dial right behind the shutter then changes shutter speed, and that is where I adjust exposure from. A few clicks quickly does the trick. I agree with you about using a higher ISO to help with shutter speeds, speed is essential especially with a non-Image stabilised len like my 400mm L.
      Back button focusing, or assigning the focus duties to something other than the half shutter, lets my camera lock on a moving object so I can click away multiple in-fucus shots at a duck, eagle, or gull in flight. That is a real advantage. Steady aim at the center focus point turns the trick there.
      Sounds like our approaches are very simular! How interesting...

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  8. I don't do a whole lot to prepare other than make sure I'm not dressed in bright colors and have the right equipment (400mm lens, tripod, monopod, extra batteries, memory, etc). I adjust my iso for the conditions and then adjust shutter speed and aperture. Sometimes I get so excited that I forget some of the settings. I've only been shooting birds for a couple of years so I'm no expert, but I do think that much of it is luck. I can shoot boring bird poses all day, but you have to have a lot of patience and go birding frequently to see them in action, such as your shot with the fish. You really have some amazing shots.

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    1. I know what you mean about boring poses, just to get a bird to open it's beak is like pulling teeth...
      Getting excited, now that's where it's at!

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  9. Springman, your shot are again phenomenal! The Green Heron blows me away! The Bittern is wonderful. I managed some decent shots of one a couple of years ago. They are indeed elusive! You can be looking right at one and not see it!

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  10. Wonderful captures! I love the header shot.

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  11. Such beautiful shots! It's a joy to see your photos!

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  12. A great post, - perfect for WBW. Lovely to see these herons! Great birds!

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  13. Another wonderful post.. your images are stunning.

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  14. Another set of marvelous photos, Dave! Your type of luck in getting the right shot requires great skill! I have not yet been able to get an American Bittern although I have heard their strange pumping calls on several occasions. On some cameras it may be easier to change the exposure compensation up or down on the fly.

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  15. What a catch! And so obliging of the Bitterns to hold still for you. Your header, once again, is magnificent!

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  16. Great photos of beautiful wetland birds.

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  17. Springman, awesome shots of the Bittern and the Night Herons. They are great sightings. I do not plan at all, I am just snap happy at anything that moves. Sometimes I get lucky and sometimes I get deletes. A lot of them. But, I am happy just to be able to see the birds. Great post and thanks for hosting.

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  18. Another brilliant header! Yes we do get very fussy and would love that 'back-lighting' every opportunity. On -the-fly, again, we want to just go for it, rather than lose it entirely. There may be, half a chance. With my limited technical knowledge, though I'm trying to learn at a slow pace, new 'techno' tips as I go. Pre-prep? Be sure to have charged camera battery/ies and/or spares. For quick shots, if time to do it, I'll switch round to sports mode. I've not tried it yet but want to soon, burst-mode or continuous shooting, to see if I pick up the shot I might miss out on while waiting for my camera to re-focus. What a nice thought, a virtual quilt of bird blocks with our thumbnails!

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  19. Springman, Love the pics. I also love to see the virtual photography quilt created by everyone's thumbnails. Thanks for mentioning it! Love the shot of the bittern!

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  20. I would love to see a Green Heron (they are here) or a Night Heron...love your idea of our shots as a bird quilt. Your header is so cute ....nice to see all the birders here! Love the heron with the fish also. It is really helpful when you put in your techniques of how you get these amazing shots. thanks.

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  21. Wonderful post.
    Your photos are fantastic, love the photo in your header too.

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  22. I love the feet on that Black-crowned Night-Heron Dave. And the Great Blue with the fish and the dangling bit of greenery is super. But I am very jealous of the American Bittern which is one of my nemesis photography birds. I look for them whenever I'm in their habitat and I know, one day, I will find a cooperative Bittern (a Least Bittern would be awesome too ;-)

    As for preparing for the photo sessions. I make sure I have plenty of pockets with extra memory chips and charged batteries, at least one camera with my 80 - 400mm lens and sometimes my scope. I always carry my bins and now I always have my Panasonic HDC-SD90 camcorder on my belt since I have gotten into video and it is light and easy to carry. I usually have my Kodak EasyShare V1253 pocket camera for habitat shots or if I'm checking nest boxes. As far as taking the photos, I usually set my ISO and go from there, depending on whether I'm digiscoping or shooting through the lens.

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    1. Getting batteries ready starts the night before...sounds like you could use a caddy Larry!

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  23. it is a quilt dave, a beautiful one at that!! stunning images this week, the gbh is my favorite, with HIS catch of the day!!

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  24. Oh, I almost forgot, I try to always keep the sun at my back ;-) Sometimes, if I'm only out for photos, I don't even look in the direction of the sun.

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  25. What a great capture of the elusive Bittern and did the Heron manage to too the fish in the air and get it down it's gullet? I looks like a precarious hole on the fin. I like the way you plan your shoot. I'm just happy to spot a bird and if I get lucky, I get a shot that I can identify on the computer. But sometimes, just sometimes, I'm given a break . . .

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    1. It's the lucky ones that keep us coming back and yes, the bird got it's fish!

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  26. Beautiful post and amazing pictures!

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  27. Wonderful post - thank you for continuing to host and educate!

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  28. Hi there - I don’t know who said it, but somebody said the secret to nature photography was "f8 and being there". It may be a little bit more than just f8, but you can’t beat being there. A suburban back garden is most definitely not "there" most of the time!

    Stewart M

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    1. As usual Stewart, point well taken. I don't understand the optics of it all but my 400mmL f5.6 lens is much sharper at f8. If there is enough light to give 1/1200...f8...iso 400 we're cooking, just add bird! Those would be good hand held numbers too wouldn't they? Stability, whether in the form of a tripod or a tree trunk is the fourth leg.

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  29. It constantly amazes me what awesome pictures you take. You live in a wonderful nature rich area, and your knowledge of photography makes it all happen.
    Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of this meme.

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  30. Such great shots!! I can't wait from week to week to see what you'll capture next. Thanks so much for hosting WBW!!

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  31. Newbie here....just saw your meme tag on another blogger's page today and wanted to join in since I began a bird photo blog last month. I still have put the link up to here yet, but will do so asap.

    ALL ABOUT SPOONBILLS

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  32. Wonderful shots. I love the header too.

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  33. I had my comments all ready, was about to send as submit, when my computer began it's updates...so I shall try this again... the header and your images are all wonderful. You do such a great job. As for me, I am not tech savy, and so I keep it all simple, and if I am blessed, yeah, and if not, delete, and I delete a bunch. I use mostly the action and macro settings...

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  34. Nice one Springman, great images as usual and a nice insight into your individual prefrences when shhoting your Dslr. I pretty much have the same technique as you and others, but one disadvantage I find where I do 99% of photography is the lack of light.... you know real clean sharp daylight.... oh how I miss blue sky backdrops. The NW of the UK is where I live and it is reknowned for the poor and often overcast weather. It is fair to say that My photography has been learnt the hard way... (always manual for me too... I prefere to be in charge) however it is fair to say that I get it wrong all too often.

    Having said all that..... nothing is harder than being in a forest with the dappled light feeding between the treetops and the shade, part shade full bright sunlight etc all hitting you from every damn angle... Malaysias Rain Forest was a real challange as were the cloud forests of Venezuela.... but give me that challange anyday rather than sat in doors trying to study about it....

    anyway I enjoyed that, as another great post from you dear Sir

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  35. Hope you get this. On the road, Google seems not to get along with my laptop and sends me on endless cycles of logon/accessing account sequences. Now will try with Chrome instead of Firefox, but Chrome chokes up the little 'puter's memory. Time for an upgrade!

    That bittern photo is to die for. The perspective is great-- the few times I have gotten them it was from above, on a boardwalk or levee.

    As for preparing for photography, I first try to remember to put the memory chip back in the camera before leaving home, then to remove the lens cap before missing the shot of a lifetime! I almost always shoot my Canon 60D at f/5.6, the widest possible aperture with my fixed 300mm f/4L lens with 1.4x extender. For flash I use the Better Beamer X-Tender with my Speedlite 580 EX II, and for environmental shots I carry a little Canon 1100 IS pocket point-and-shoot.

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