Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sun is Rising

Sunrise is always beautiful - and last weekend in Amagansett was no exception....Those colors are all natural and I really like the visual effect of a "squished" sun (above).  Below is another version shot at a much lower ISO (hence the darker water).  On both of these shots, the sun was completely blown out (that is, it was so bright it was rendered as white in the image).  I filled it in using the fringing colors of the sun and used a desaturation sponge to increase the brightness for a more real effect.

A more "abstract" shot:

Here is an image of a Grey Seal that was released by the Riverhead Foundation over the summer which I recently processed to round things out!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dreamy look continues

I couldn't resist a few more images done to dreamy perfect....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Flower Effects

I was processing an image of a flower recently and wanted to make it really glow... but how?  I re-called an image of a crocus that a fellow photographer friend of mine had showed me not too long ago and wanted to duplicate that effect, so I sent him an e-mail and it turns out I'm not the only one who has wondered.  He shared this blog post with me that makes it ridiculously easy to create this effect and clearly I was eager to try it out tonight... enjoy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

First Fall Sunset

Well I came up empty handed after waiting on some Kestrels for 30 minutes - but when I turned around I saw this beautiful sunset over the farm fields of Aquebogue.  It worked out well that I had my telephoto lens on as there was some farm equipment just below the bottom of the frame so a wide-angle would likely have not worked well.  Earlier in the week I had photographed this Groundhog in the same field.

And here is another photo of the sunset but with the farm equipment included (taken in a vertical format) which I think does not compare to the top post.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Praying Mantis and other critters

An unsuccessful morning at Jones Beach West End (due to the enormous numbers of mosquitoes who would swarm my vehicle as soon as I stopped) I headed to the South Fork Natural History Museum (also known as SoFo) because a rare bird had been reported the day before and there is potential for a lot of other birds and animals.  The grasslands and ponds behind the museum did not disappoint and I recommend to anyone who lives on the east end (or anywhere on Long Island for that matter) to visit museum and walk the wide trails behind.  The muskrat pictured below had no problem with me sitting on the shoreline of the pond and literally swam right up to me.

A close-up:

The real impressive thing in the fields however was the variety of insects.  I couldn't believe there weren't more birds hawking or catching them (only one kestrel was on duty to eat the big grasshoppers). Here is a bee-fly enjoying the nectar of a goldenrod flower.

This ladybug was calling a milkweed plant home for the morning:

The most exciting critter find for me however was when a male praying mantis fluttered in front of me in a patch of burnweed.  This insect is the largest on Long Island and is seldom seen (I believe this is only the 3rd one I've come across in the field over the last few years).  While I was admiring this bugs size and wild looks, two women stopped and asked what I was taking pictures of.  One of the women was Sandra Ferguson who is the President of the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt - a great organization that works on preserving the natural wonders that make up the Long Pond Greenbelt - stretching from Sag Harbor and the beginning of Ligonee Creek down through Sagaponack to the Atlantic Ocean.  I have had many beautiful hikes in this greenbelt and come away with a lot of great photos - and it's people like Sarah who ensure these opportunities will be available for generations to come.

And another up-side down view:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Migrating Monarchs

I took a trip down Dune Rd. this evening in hopes of finding migrating raptors (which I saw last evening in the form a Merlin.  I was unsuccessful with birds, but just before I was about to head over the Ponquogue bridge I spotted hundreds of Monarch Butterflies.  Across the street there were a handful that were in the fading light so I went after them first.  I followed that up by heading across the street and popping the flash and switching to my 18-200mm from my 300mm lens for a broad view of these butterflies.  I'd been noticing a lot of them around Dune Rd. but didn't realize they "roosted" like this except down in Mexico.

Another angle:

And one more:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mammals and Amphibians

This last week has been slow as far as photographing opportunities but when they have come about they were excellent.  Last week at work I got a report of a Little Brown Bat (whose population numbers have nose-dived due to a fungus that spreads through colonies known as White Nose Syndrome - you can read more about it here: Fish and Wildlife Service WNS).  This bat appeared healthy and we re-located it to a more user friendly location (away from the public) and it was clearly none-to-happy.

A trip to Munns Pond Preserve in Hampton Bays provided great looks at 4 (four!) white-tailed fawns.  I have only a couple photos of fawns and am not happy with any of them.  For such a popular species, you'd think I would have more chances but I rarely see them in a photographable setting.  It is my assumption that these fawns were brought to the rehab center on-site and after being given a clean bill of health they were released in the surrounding woods and decided to stick together (white-tailed deer usually give birth to a single fawn per season, though twins aren't unheard of).

After the fawns came the frogs.  I was hoping for the grey-tree frog but it's too late in the season to find them in the water (they have moved up into trees where they are near impossible to find).  There were plenty of juvenile green frogs however and this one gave me a decent photo op.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sunrise Deer

I went to Cupsogue this morning in pursuit of Marbled Godwits and was initially greeted by this Doe who looked so beautiful in the early morning light (I think the sun had just broken the horizon).  This mornings interaction was a nice compliment to a more intimate wildlife photography experience yesterday at the home of fellow photographer Michael Lotito (images can be seen here) who has an entire ecosystem in his back yard.  Frogs, toads, dragonflies, hummingbirds, you name it they're there.  I don't know how the guy gets any work done... so, a big thanks to you Mike for lending me your treasure chest of life for the weekend.

A little closer:

Green frogs make easy subjects as they think they blend in and can't be seen among the lily pads.  I captured this while laying down along the edge of the man-made pond and extending my camera and macro lens toward the frog using the viewfinder as a magnifying glass (an alternative to this is to utilize the Live View function, but the AF system can be frustrating when Live View is engaged)

Also present at the pond were a handful of dragonflies.  This is a female blue dasher that is in the process of depositing eggs - pretty much the only way to get a dragonfly to "stay still" long enough to get a flight shot.

Mike's backyard features quite a few hibiscus plants and this emerging bud caught my eye.  I used the surrounding leaves to frame the subject:

Bumble bees and bee flies were all over the place, creating a fun challenge.  I came away with one shot that seemed head and shoulders above the others:

A closeup of the previous frame so you can appreciate the detail:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This afternoon I hiked a section of Hubbard County Park in Flanders in pursuit of a particular osprey nest which I was unsuccessful in finding.  I did, however, find two previously unknown (to the NYS natural heritage program anyway) populations of Sabatia stellaris (salt-marsh pink), a small pink flowering plant that is fond of brackish marshes and is on the NYS endangered list.  I previously had found a location near my house of this species which was unknown to the NYS natural heritage program two summers ok so this was a nice find.   Unfortunately the mosquitoes were unbearable so it was a quick few shots and then I left.  More photos (probably of the population that's closer to home) to come.

This Fowler's Toad was spotted on the other side of the property... it probably is a yearling as it was not the size of an adult. 

And some sunsets from Patchogue after a wild storm tore across the island:

And across the river:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Seals, Batches of Bugs and other east end treats.

The last few weeks have been full of seal releases by the Riverhead Foundation, the local rescue and rehab group tasked with rescuing and helping marine mammals back to life.  They are a wonderful not for profit organization with lots of dedicated volunteers and some skilled biologists (some of whom are in the Gulf helping rehab dolphins and sea turtles affected by the oil spill).  The first one I attended a few weeks ago featured a very curious grey seal named "chance" who gave me a great chance to get up close shots.  (Chance is featured above as well)

and one more

This past weekend featured another Grey Seal who bolted into the water, and a Harbor Seal who appeared a little nervous before slipping into the water.

Here is the Harbor looking a bit more hesitant...I don't blame him.  He landed in the hospital after surviving a shark attack!

Finally in the water

A trip to 'Tern Island" in Moriches Bay proved worthless as a Tern photography venture as we missed the fledge date and all of the birds were gone.  However, the milkweed has grown throughout portions of the island providing a good opportunity for Monarch Caterpillars (which, believe it or not I've never seen before).  Without even looking I spotted about a dozen of these guys munching away which is quite impressive.  So aside from the islands value as bird breeding habitat, the monarchs will be happy with our efforts as well.  Unfortunately for the milkweed however, the Oleander Aphid (little yellow specks) has exploded on this island (likely due to the heat/drought conditions) covering every single plant.  The Lady bugs which feed on the aphids simply can't keep up.  

Milkweed bugs on their namesake plant

And here is the lady bug doing its part:

Now here is another female Diamondbacked Terrapin I spotted crossing Dune Rd. (this time returning from laying eggs).  It clearly has had a run in with something bigger than it in its past (Car? Raccoon?) with its notched shell and cracked jaw, but it seemed relatively healthy (though quite nervous to come out of its shell!)

Yesterdays visit to Pheasant Meadow didn't yield much beyond ticks and mosquitoes, but this Pearl Crescent Butterfly obliged me on some blooming milkweed.

And lastly, a landscape shot (what?!?).  This time it's sunlit clouds from Squires Pond along the Peconic Bay last night.  I ran out of the water (I had been swimming) in hopes of photographing the golden cloud on the left side of the image but by the time I got my camera from my car it had largely dissipated.  The remaining clouds and color were still quite attractive though.

Tomorrow I am off on a Whale Watching trip out of Montauk so hopefully my next post will be filled with Whales, Dolphins and maybe even a Shark (or Sea Turtle, I'd be pleased with either).