>Day 045 – 02142011

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Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone who celebrates a day like today! Mother Nature has given us (in Northern California) the gift of rain on this beautiful Monday.

This male great blue heron (Ardea herodias) stopped by to check the land and wasn’t very thrilled that we wanted to take his picture. He promptly flew away as I got closer. His mate, on the other hand, actually stayed and roamed around the area on foot for a while.

Technical data: f/5.0 at 1/500th sec, ISO 100.

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>Day 043 – 02122011

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This seagull graciously stayed in the same spot long enough for me to get close and take its picture while I changed the position of the polarizer filter on my lens. This filter helped me to get a deeper blue in the sky, as well as to eliminate glare and unwanted shine from the bird’s feathers and beak.

Contrast and color adjustments, as well as sharpening, were performed in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Technical data: 1/2000th sec at f/5.6, ISO 100.

>Day 042 – 02112011

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The weather is still sunny and nice enough to visit the great outdoors in this part of the world.

Our weekly pilgrimage to Bodega Bay, California, yielded the image above. I took a series of 25 photos showing this snowy egret (Egretta thula) feeding on crabs it had found at the banks of Doran Creek. Eventually I might post the rest of photos in the series in my Flickr page.

Once again, my trusted Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM zoom lens came through with flying colors.

Technical data: f/5.6, 1/800th sec, ISO 100.

>Day 041 – 02102011

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It is quite a beautiful sight to watch a great white heron (Ardea alba) take flight. Their grace and beauty is unmatched.

I watched this bird on the Santa Rosa Creek where another fellow photographer was attempting to get closer to it. At first I thought this bird to be a very large snowy egret (Egretta thula), however he pointed out to me the differences between the two species:
1) black feet, yellow beak = great white heron
2) yellow feet, black beak = snowy egret
Upon returning home I verified this information online and it appears to be correct.

…amazing what we can learn from strangers…

Technical data: f/5.6, 1/640th sec, ISO 100.

>Day 035 – 02042011

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A young specimen of snowy egret (Egretta thula) hunting for food at the Santa Rosa Creek reservoir. This bird looked mature enough to be hunting by itself, however it was smaller in size than the other specimens we’ve seen around the reservoir.

Cropping and sharpening of the original raw file were performed in Adobe Camera Raw.

Technical data: f/4.5, 1/250th sec, ISO 100.

Day 012 – 01122011

I photographed this double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) at the shores of the Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, California.

The name double-crested is applied to it due to the large white feather tufts the males sport during mating season, which occurs in late spring and during the summer. It is my understanding that this bird is quite common along rivers and lakes and we’ve seen them quite often here, I just never had the chance to get this close to one to photograph well.

Sharpening and contrast were increased in Adobe Camera Raw, and I digitally cleaned out most of the do-do on the bird’s rock using the Spot Healing Brush Tool in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Technical data: aperture f/3.5, exposure 1/250th sec, ISO 100.