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2019—Stanley No. 46

My husband was a woodworker.  His father was a cabinet maker.  When Moose gave me an assignment to create a table-top light painting, I knew instantly my subject would be the Stanley No. 46 Combination Plane that Ron’s father used more than 85 years ago.  The plane might even have been Ron’s grandfather’s plane as he came from a family of cabinet makers.  The Stanley No. 46 plane was introduced in 1874 and the fancy floral design was discontinued during World War I so the plane dates back at least 100 years.   I completed the scene with Ron’s chisel and mallet, a cherrywood box Ron made for me, a sample dove tail joint he chiseled, and a few wood chips and curls I managed to scrape off a piece of soft pine using some of Ron’s other planes and spoke shaves.  The background is an oak tool chest.

Light painting is a photographic technique that uses a long exposure and an off camera light source such as a penlight to illuminate portions of a scene.   The light painting is done in a dark, unlighted place.  I chose the workbench in my garage.  This assignment was my first attempt at light painting and it is addictive.  In the beginning, it is mostly trial and error.  Learning where to focus the light, how bright the light should be, how close to shine the light, and how long to keep it lit takes practice.  Deciding what parts of the scene should be illuminated and from what angle is a challenge.  I learned how to do this by watching a KelbyOne video about Light Painting from Dave Black, who, like Moose, is a Nikon Ambassador.

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2019—Young Roseate Spoonbill

There’s just something about baby animals.  They’re always cute, even when they might grow into something very un-cute.  Take, for instance, the Roseate Spoonbill.  Roseate Spoonbills are spectacular from a distance.  Their feathers are pink and in flight, that pink is stunning.  On close inspection, however, the Roseate Spoonbill is one of the most homely creatures and in my view, the homeliest bird.  But,  even young Roseate Spoonbills exhibit that baby cuteness, even with that ungainly bill and face.

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2019—Gliding to a Landing

A Herring Gull glides over the surf to land as the tide comes in at Daytona Beach in Florida.

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2019—Strutting

The tide was coming in at Daytona Beach in Florida and I was kneeling in the wet sand to get this shot.  The thin veneer of water atop the sand created a reflection as the Willet strutted in front of me toward the late afternoon sun.

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2019—A Tasty Morsel

This Willet on Daytona Beach in Florida enjoys a tasty morsel as the setting sun gives a warm tint to its feathers.  Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 PF

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2019—Fish–It’s What’s for Dinner

We were at the Helen and Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary east of Orlando on our last day in Florida to see the endangered Florida Scrub Jay.  Although we heard and saw a couple of jays in the distance, we did not get close enough to get good photographs.  The afternoon was quite warm and I had already finished all my water.  We were starting back down the trail when an Osprey with a fish landed in the tree next to where we were standing and tore into its prey.  We kept expecting the Osprey to take the fish to the nest where the female kept calling.  This Osprey was apparently not the mate and was not on nest duty.  We watched as it devoured the fish piece by piece for most of an hour ignoring the female’s cries.  When we began to wilt from the withering sun and lack of water, we left the bird to finish without us.   Fish–It’s What’s for Dinner

The event did give me an extended time to practice my manual focusing skills which were put to the test.  I had the Nikon 2x Teleconverter and the Nikkor 500mm PF lens on the Nikon D5.  With that combination, f/11 as the largest aperture and auto focus is not an option.   I managed to get good focus on more than 60% of my images which is better than I’ve done since I’ve had the 500mm lens, but I should be doing better.  On my return home from Florida, I discovered that my vision was adversely affected due to dry eyes that prevented me from focusing my eyes.  Treatment has rectified that problem but I discovered that my distance prescription has also changed further affecting my ability to focus manually.   In retrospect, I began to notice my compromised vision in October, at the same time I got my new 500mm PF lens, so I attributed my inability to get sharp images using manual focus to the new lens, not to my eyes.  I’m assuming that my cleared vision and new optical prescription will help me do better with manual focus when I use the 500mm PF with the 2x teleconverter.

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2019—Little Blue Heron?

Juvenile Little Blue Herons are anything but blue.  They hatch pure white and gradually turn blue through successive molts.  They are similar in size to Snowy Egrets and often mistaken for them, especially if they are wading.  But the Little Blue doesn’t have the distinctive yellow feet, black legs or black beak of a Snowy Egret.  This young Little Blue Heron has green legs and feet and its bill is blueish.

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2019—Buck

There were plenty of Mule Deer in the Wind River Range in Wyoming last month. It was cold and snowy there and it was snowing when I took this photograph of  a buck making his way along a ridge.

 

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2019—Admiring a Reflection

The color of the beak of the Common Gallinule (formerly known as the Common Moorhen) indicates whether it is breeding season. This bird in its breeding colors seems to be admiring the reflection of its brilliant yellow-tipped red beak.

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2019—Limping Along

Limpkins (Aramus Guarauna) are wading birds that live in swamps and marshes in Florida and Central and South America.  According to my Funk & Wagnall’s, their English name is because of their jerky gait, almost a limp.  I didn’t really notice that when I saw them for the first time in Florida.  What fascinated me was that they were skulking through the marshy water in Orlando Wetlands Park searching for snails and other mollusks to eat.  In the second photograph, the Limpkin reacts after eating the snail and dropping the shell back into the water.  The empty shell sets at its feet in the lower right of the frame

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