At San Jacinto Wildlife Area near Perris, Ca I managed to get fairly close to a Golden Eagle, many Kestrals, and a Red-Shouldered Hawk this week.
We spent 8 days photographing Arches and Canyonlands Nat Pks trying to get up before sunrise and also shoot at sunset- the best light of the day. I had wanted to do some night photography but it was cloudy at night most of the time. These 2 parks had some spectacular scenery with some of the best rock formations in the U.S. Most of the images are with a Canon 1dx mark ii and a Canon 17-40 mm wide angle lens and in a few cases a 14mm Rokinon lens. Moab is a great place to stay with good motels and a few good restaurants, especially Desert Bistro. We pretty much stayed on the main road but if you have a 4 wheel drive hundreds of miles of roads are available, especially in Canyonlands.
More images from our Alaska trip with a few landscapes. The landscapes were on the Kenai Peninsula while the Bears were at Lake Clark across the Cooke inlet. We were able to get fairly close to the Bears with an experienced guide, which is essential, not only to find the bears but to be able to read their behavior and know how far to position ourselves safely. The welfare of the bears is the highest priority and our time was limited so as not to alter their behavior or interfere with their daily routines. The fact that we were in a coastal grassland habitat made it easier for us to spot bears at a distance and for them to see us well in advance. The problem is that if you surprise them in a forest on a trail with no visibility then they can get defensive or aggressive, especially with cubs. Also if you are in a group of 3 or more people they seldom attack if you stay close together and use common “bear sense”.
We traveled to Alaska to photograph Grizzly or Coastal Brown Bears, Puffins, and Sea Otters. I am always trying to expand my vision so Bears were very challenging. The bears were at Lake Clark National Park off the Cook inlet and the otters and Puffins near Seward, Alaska. Although it rained off and on for most of the time there were breaks and the overcast light was actually perfect. I used a Canon 1dx mark ii body and a 300 mm f2.8 lens with a 1.4 extender most of the time and on landscape a 17-40 mm wide angle lens. Usually I was on a tripod but some hand-held shots.
Bald Eagles at Seabec, Wa in late June during minus tides when they congregate to feed on small fish in the oyster beds during very low tides. All photographs taken with the new Canon 1dx mark ii and 300 mm f2.8 ii with either a 1.4 or 2.0 extender. This is the only time they congregate in quantities during the year with up to 50 or more eagles at a time. At times they fly right over your head, too close to focus but are generally about 30 to 100 feet away and flying back to the trees when not eating fish.
I just spent about 6 days photographing the Peregrine Falcons at Torrey Pines St Park in La Jolla, Ca. The juvenile falcons are about 2 weeks out of their nest on the cliffs and are flying aerial acrobats. Peregrines are the fastest animal or bird on the planet with speeds clocked at over 250 mph in a dive. They prey on smaller birds by literally knocking them out of the sky and then catching them in their talons. Prey is passed to the juveniles in mid-air by the parents and also stolen from siblings in flight. The juveniles will be fed by parents for about a month and then will learn how to catch their own prey and move to their own territory and live independently.
Black Bear Cub
” Why Don’t We Do It In The Road ?” The Beatles
Black Bear Cub Cinnamon
We spent 12 days in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton near Jackson Hole, Wy. Most of the wildlife was shot in the Lamar Valley in the NE section of Yellowstone east of Mammoth Hot Springs. We were there the middle of May until the 22 and it snowed once or twice with some rain. Temperature ranged from 29 to 45 at night and mostly in the 50’s to 60 days. This is a good time to go before the large influx of tourists although there already were plenty clogging the roads every time a bear appeared on the side of the road. Most of the wildlife was shot with a 300 mm f2.8 Canon lens with either a 1.4 or 2 x extender and a Canon 7d mark ii or the new Canon 1DX mark ii body The landscape was with a 17-40 mm wide angle mostly on the full frame body. There are more photos which I will post later.
Here are some more images from the SW Florida trip. The Painted Buntings,Woodpecker, Anhinga & Raccoon were at the Corkscrew Swamp Audubon center near Naples, Fl. The Little Blue Heron and Alligator were at Ding Darling, Sanibel Island and came within a few feet of me, feeding in the shallow water.
We just returned from a trip to SW Florida including Ding Darling Preserve on Sanibel Island, Corkscrew Swamp (Audubon) near Naples, Fl, and Cape Coral, Fl where the Burrowing Owls and the Bald Eagle nest was located. Winter from Nov until March is the best time to go before some of the birds leave and the weather gets hotter and more humid. Sanibel Island (Ding Darling) is best early in the morning at sunrise and low tide. Forget the middle of the day as the light is too harsh and the birds are not very active. You need at least a 300 mm lens or 400-600 for more distant birds. Some birds are not very afraid of people so they come within 10 feet at times if you stay still but I used 420 mm most of the time. ( I used my new 300 f2.8 IS II with a 1.4 extender most of the time giving me 420mm with my Canon 7d mark II.) On the Bald Eagle nest I used the 300 with a 2x extender as I was over 150 feet away (as close as allowed with signs protecting the nest).
I will post more photos including Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Painted Bunting, an alligator, and a Red-Bellied Woodpecker soon in the next blog.
Sorry I can no longer allow comments as log ins were allowing a security problem, which has been fixed ( spam problem.) The blog is available without logging in or registering. You can also follow me on Twitter @ImagePhotoPro
At San Jacinto Wildlife Area I observed a Northern Harrier on Prey and then another appeared to try and steal the Prey, a Coot. I managed to photograph from my van about 40 ft away. As long as you stay in your vehicle the birds are not disturbed. Then I saw a dark large shadow overhead and a Golden Eagle flew over the kill, but did not land. Maybe 2 Harriers were too much for the Eagle, although he was much larger !