At the beginning of March, I travelled to Costa Rica with McDonald Wildlife Photogrpahy to photograph volcanoes, hummingbirds and other rain forest creatures. We had no luck with the volcano as El Ninio was making its impression on the Costa Rican dry season. The rainy weather did madi it possible to photograph birds most of the day, when they would typically avoid the heat of mid-day. One of our first stops was at a small nature preserve known for its boat-billed herons, large birds with very large bills. Other birds visited a feeding station. Shown here are Boat-billed Herons, a Collared Aracari, White-collared Manakin displaying, and Tent-making Bats. The tent making bats chewa small section in the middle of the large leaf causing it to fold over, making a tent for them to sleep in. Also shown are Pasarini’s Tanager, Summer Tanager and a Blue-grey tanager.
This week the weather forcaseters imagined a big storm hiting the Northeast; however, it only brought a few inches of snow. The windblown snow that did arrive stuck to everything. The first image is from the side yard, before the turkeys got to tranpling through the snow. I also drove to some locations in town where streams pass under the road to see if I could find any good scenes to photograph. Then I went into the back yard to photograph the birds coming to our feeding stations. The scenic images were taken with my new Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-105mm IS lens. The the birds were photographed with my Canon 7D, and the 500mm f4 with a 1.4X converter on it. I cropped the images after that. It’s amazing how small a crop can be made and retain the details of the feathers.
This Bee Assassin stayed on one of two flowers during a four week period in September. The first images are in the nymph stage, and gradually transformed into the adult form over the first two weeks. I visited the flower often to see if the bug would catch something to eat. Near the end of the fourth week I was fortunate to see, and photograph, the insect eating a bee.
Assassin bugs get their name from the way they attack their victims, inflicting sharp stabs with their beak. Their front most legs have powerful muscles to grab and hold their prey while the body fluids are sucked out. The bug pounces on bees and other pollinating insects. After grabbing the prey, the insect thrusts its cutting beak in to the victim’s back, injects an immobilizing digestive agent, then sucks out the body juices.
For these images I used a Canon 40D camera with a Sigma 150mm macro lens and a Canon MT-24EX twin light.
This spring the male turkeys that visited my yard spent a lot of time displaying. Well, it must have worked (at least for one). A female started visiting to feed her nine poults (turkey chicks) at our bird feeders. The little round birds were so cute when they first arrived in early June. They were very skittish and the mother did not allow any approach, even when we went out to throw some seed on the ground, so the first few photos are from the kitchen window. Normally, the adults stay within six to eight feet when we walk about the yard, especially if we are bringing seed. As the poults got older, the mother did get comfortable with us bringing seed and rarely moved more than six feet out of our way, and would start running for the seed before we’d finished throwing it. The image of the single poult was taken on August 1, and is just about two months old.
When young, the poults would occasionally hide under the mother’s belly for warmth or protection. You can see a couple sets of small legs. There are five poults under the mother.
My friends, Jan and Cemal, have the nicest house with wonderful flower beds both in front yard and back yard. And no grass to cut. I’m envious. They invited Chris and me for a barbecue as well as to photograph the flowers that were at peak blossom. Except for the fact that it was getting dark and I had to quit, I had a great time. These images are the result. They were all taken using a Canon 40D camera with a Sigma 150mm macro lens.
I had the opportunity to be in Kauai while on a job and managed to get out and photogrpah on the weekend of June 13-14. Although I’ve been to Kauai many times over the last 30 years, this is the first time I’d seen large waves on the south shore. There was a large storm off to the north that resulted in many waves coming in from different angles. At some coves it looked like a washing machine as waves came in from different angles, sometimes combining intoa great froth of water.
The karri tree grows only in South West Australia and is one of the tallest trees in the world. A hardwood tree growing to 90 meters in height, it sheds its grayish bark each fall leaving a pile of shredded bark at its base, revealing smooth new bark in patches of white, yellow, and orange. The trunk extends straight up and has branches only near the top.
Several of these tress have been put into service as fire towers by building platforms near the top made accessible by ladders attached to the trunk. Several trees have also had these ladders intalled to permit access by the public. As there is only one ladder on the trunk, people decending must pass those accending the tree. Not for me.
These images are from Gloucester National Park, Beedelup National Park, and Warren National Park near Pemberton, West Australia.
Many caves are located in the Cape K=Leeuin Naturaliste National Park. While three of these caves are electrically lit, two with guided tours and one self-guided, there are othes which are explored wearing a hard hat and headlamp. I did not explore these, but I did venture into Mammouth Cave and Lake Cave.
Mammouth is self guided, so there is as much time as you need for photography; however, tripods are not allowed. This made photography difficult but possible using the railing in corners where the camera could be suppported. This limited the selection of subjects to those near the corners of platforms. In Lake Cave it was more difficult, as I was part of a large group. The only useable images were made with the camera placed on teh edge of the platform.
The caves are quite beautiful, lit as they are with yellow and redish lights. Using flash revealed the true color to be more whitish or grey, what would be expected for limestone. Thin tubes are formed as mineral laden water drips through a tube, adding material to the end of the tube. In Lake Cave, the main feature is actually suspended above the surface of the water. The base was originally attached to the bottom of the cave lake, which was disolved over time and lowered.