Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men"

"The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men". Now why do I say that? My plan on Tuesday morning was to wake up early and again try to capture images of the comet Ison, however, I set the alarm for quarter of 3 AM but did not turn the alarm on. So, I awoke at 5 AM, quickly got dressed and drove out to Gooseberry. The sky was getting lighter and the brilliant moon didn't help, so no pictures again of the comet. However there were great pictures of the sunrise.

Really, the only bad thing that occurred was that my Nikon D800 started acting up and given the error messages and intermittently would stop auto-focusing. When I got back to the car tried it on a different lens the same thing happened. Oh well, camera off to Nikon for repair. I had bought the camera, when it first was released in the camera has approximately 57,000 shutter activations since then.
The moon illuminating the clouds

Sunrise captured with a 500 mm lens
After pictures of the sunrise, I relaxed and waited from my birding companion Doug to show up and we did our Tuesday morning birding trip. Right in the parking lot at Gooseberry, was our first surprise, a Rusty Blackbird. Despite the brisk wind, birds were flying over. Juncos and songs powers while hopping around feeding. As we slowly walked out toward the tip of Gooseberry, we saw out on the water large groups of White-winged Scoters, Eiders, Common Loons and Horned Grebes. What was interesting was most of the rocks in the water with cormorants usually rest were covered with water or having large waves splash over them. I like the way the water was crashing over the rocks so I made photographs of it happening. The Phragmites were were really blowing in the wind, and since I used 1/1250 second shutter speed I almost completely froze the Phragmites. Near the tip when we went out onto the beach, we did see a small flock of peeps flying and landing back down on the shore. With the spotting scope we were able to identify them as Sanderlings and Dunlins. When we reached the tip, we found a flock of the least 100 or more Sanderlings and Dunlins. I sat down to be low to the ground and started moving slowly toward them, when suddenly they all took off in to a massive flight. Doug told me up a Peregrine falcon passed by and set them off. I got some nice photographs of the birds turning and swirling in the air. They came back down and started resting. On a rock just off the shore were a group of Purple Sandpipers. As I slowly approached them being low to the ground, they suddenly flew from the rock and landed just in front of me. Bingo, more pictures. As we were returning back to the parking lot, we saw a goldfinch on the ground feeding and the goldfinch say just of head of us and company us part of the way back to the parking lot.

Rusty Blackbird

American Goldfinch

Dunlins and Sanderlings resting on the beach

Great Cormorants in Flight

Waves crashing over the rocks in black and white

Waves crashing over the rocks  
 This picture is the same as the black and white picture above it. I learned a new technique yesterday watching a webinar from Topaz. What you do is open the original picture in Lightroom as a Smart object, apply your filters that you want as Smart filters, open Topaz black and white also was a Smart filter and process your adjustments, and then change the blending mode of the filter to luminosity. This gives a great feel to the picture.

Dunlins and Sanderlings in-flight

Phragmites blowing in the wind

A small plant trying to survive
Great Cormorants in Flight

Dunlin and Purple Sandpiper

Ruddy Turnstone