Monday, July 23, 2012

Mangrove Blurs

Recently, I launched from Blackpoint marina on Biscayne Bay. Normally, this location is not my first choice because it does not provide as many opportunities for wading bird photographs as other places on the bay. But, this area has the most beautiful shoreline and creeks to wander in. It was at Blackpoint where I was first introduced to Biscayne Bay, so it is a special place, if for only that reason.

It is also where I have done some experimenting with mangrove photos. About 1/2 mile north of Blackpoint is a small lake that is somewhat hidden behind a couple small mangrove islands that separate it from the bay. In the morning, this is an exceptionally beautiful and quiet place where I don't mind floating around gazing at the trees and water. On this particular morning I was floating around some mangroves that were full of large propagules. They happened to be in good light as well. Propagules are the seedlings that hang like cigars from the branches and occurs primarily during summer. It was relatively calm and protected where I was so the water was uninterrupted. The clear reflections of the thick mangroves were so real looking. I began to play around with photographing those reflections by causing small ripples in the water with my paddle blade. Here are a couple of shots. To someone that is unfamiliar with mangrove trees, it might seem a bit scary if this is what they saw in the water.

Attempting these reflection shots inspired me to try something different. Awhile back, I had fun using a blur technique when visiting Fairchild Tropical Gardens one time. I was pleased with the effects and thought it might be interesting to try it with the mangroves. Lots of trial and error in getting the right exposure and blur, I worked between shutter speeds of 1/6 to 1/13 and apertures no larger than f16, staying mostly within f22-29. ISO was set to its lowest level. The sky was nicely clouded over, which made it easier to expose. I was quite happy with the outcome. One of the photos is at the top and here are a few more. The last photo was shot on another day and with that, I attempted to include the propagule reflection in the water. The bonus was the smoky like appearance of the water caused by the camera movement. For all these shots, I used a vertical motion with the camera.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bon Appetit

During my many visits to the Biscayne Bay or Chokoloskee Bay bird rookery over the years, I have watched and photographed nestlings fed by a parent. This is never an easy scene to capture. It happens quickly with lots of commotion and often times hidden behind branches and leaves, and fluttering wings. Every once in awhile, I can capture the moment with some success. Here are some photos, recent and past. Birds represented here are cattle egret, great white egret, snowy egret, cormorant and brown pelican. To your health little birds!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The spider has a mate

Not one to pass up an opportunity, I went back out to Biscayne Bay on a second day with perfect conditions. Between rain and winds, opportunities like this don't come often during these strange summer months. I had success on Friday, so I thought I would repeat and head to the bird rookery and after that, check out my moth-eating golden silk spider in the creek.

I haven't had a moment to check out my rookery photos, so for now, the topic continues to be the golden silk spider. I found the same spider that I photographed while she ate a moth yesterday, but today there was no remains of the moth in the web. Instead, the spider had a mate.

Spent some time photographing a couple more spiders; one in particular was closer and considerably larger than the first one. I decided to toss a small mangrove leaf toward the web. It instantly got caught in the web and in a split second, the large golden silk was on it. The spider's legs and antennae were all over the leaf, looking for animal protein to consume. After a few minutes, the leaf fell out of the web. I repeated this three times and attempted some photographs. On the fourth try, the spider did not budge after having been fooled.

All photos shown here were shot with sky as background, same with the previous blog's photos. Flash was used on all photos.