Going Big in the Backyard

Anytime I have the opportunity I like to experiment with new or different ideas, and some times I go a bit over board. For sometime now I have wondered, what if, yes what if I added my Quantum 5dr flash with a 20 inch octobox to the combination of the D8oo Nikon with a 600mm f/4 lens with a 1.4 teleconverter (850mm) attached and set this up in my tiny backyard. So here are the results with the “Big Rig” set at the minimum focus distance for the lens.  The images are un-cropped and with the exception of a slight adjustment for contrast are SOC. Let me know what you think.backyard-9-3-16_0003-copybackyard-9-3-16_0004-copy


Hummingbirds don’t really hum and it can be hard  to hear them chirping as the buzz from their rapidly flapping wings often drowns them out. As a photographer I enjoy the challenge of catching these little creatures in flight rather than sitting on a feeder. To  catch them in flight requires a fast shutter speed and most of the time I will sync a high speed flash in the attempt to stop the wings.

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Scientists  place hummingbirds and swifts in the same taxonomic order, the Apodiformes. The name means “without feet,” which is certainly how these birds look most of the time. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d think they don’t have wings either since they can flap 53 times per second, making the wings pretty well invisible. The extremely short legs of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird prevent it from walking or hopping. The best it can do is shuffle along a perch. Nevertheless, it scratches its head and neck by raising its foot up and over its wing

House Finch

I see these beautiful little critters on a daily basis at my feeder and just though they had always been in Ohio until I checked in with Cornell Lab. Here is what they had to say.

  • The House Finch was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (“Hollywood finches”). They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years.
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    Young Male House Finch

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    Young Female House Finch

The Green Heron

“Green Heron”  the name sounds like a comic book super hero, but don’t hold your breath waiting for him to save the day. Often seen using “tools” or bait to attract small fish while hunting along river banks, marshes and wooded ponds This stocky built short legged creature can however make your day as it can be found in all but about seven states in the US.

Here a few of my favorite Green Heron photographs.

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Young American

The Bald Eagle,  the United States National icon is an extremely fantastic creature to watch and photograph. I have been fortunate to follow a pair of these amazing birds over the past three seasons. This year produced three young ones and they have been fascinating to watch grow. Knowing that the Eaglets were beginning to get out on their own a bit, sharping their flying and fishing skills I thought I would make my way to their nesting area and grab a couple of shots to share with you.levee rd-7-10-16_0058 copylevee rd-7-10-16_0030 copylrlevee rd-7-10-16_0069 copylr

Backyard, Big Lens and Teleconverters

One of the best days in my life, outside the the day I married my best friend and the birth of my children, would be the day my Nikor 600mm f/4 lens arrived. A lens of this magnitude represents a substantial investment, so I thought it would be fun to show my readers what you can expect from a lens of this type .

The aim of this experiment was to show my readers a few example of the capabilities  of this lens at 600mm , add a 1.4 tele-converter and the results of using the “image area” option provided in the menu of the D800. The image area option allows for a 1.2 and a 1.5 conversion so basically we have 600mm – 850mm – 1000mm and 1200mm. Below are the result in that order.  All photos were shot at approximately 25 feet and with the exception of adjusting the contrast they are SOC


600mm at f/4


850mm at f/5.6


1000mm at f/5.6


1200mm at f/5.6


Lunch With the Osprey

As a photographer I’m always looking for new places and subjects to photograph, so when a fellow photographer mentioned an Osprey nest with two young ones. You can imagine my excitement. This “Adventure” would require me to drive 80 miles and the possible wait of several hours. Having photographed Osprey in the past I had some knowledge of their feeding habits so I wanted to plan my arrival when the birds would be most active.

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