Thursday, June 21, 2012

Young Buck in Velvet

This young buck whitetail deer was recently photographed with his new antlers covered in velvet.  We don't normally pay much attention to the smaller bucks but the light on this one was attractive.  The lighting was difficult, though, and required much patience as the buck moved through the woods.  The overhead canopy was very thick and allowed for small shafts of early morning light to penetrate.  This image was taken when the buck paused in one of the shafts of sunlight.  The deer looks well lit but in reality the light was not very strong.  Much of the side of his face is in shadow but the light falls nicely on his forehead and gives us a nice catchlight in his eye.  We like how he is looking somewhere in the distance with his ears alert.  The whiskers on his chin are visible against the darker background.  We would prefer that the spots of blue sky were not present behind the buck's head but maybe fixing that could be a Photoshop project.
1/100 second at f/5.6, 100-400 lens at 380mm, ISO 2000.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Great Blue Heron

This great blue heron was fishing on a small local pond.  We spent quite a bit of time getting close and also using the background to our advantage.  This was taken late morning and the light was getting harsh.  There was deep shade in the woods behind the bird, though, and by getting ourselves low we got this nice profile image of the heron perched on the fallen tree.  Notice that even the little feather on the back of the neck is plainly visible against the dark background.  It also helped that the fallen tree was away from the shoreline which allowed for slight blurring of the background.  We had taken several photographs as the heron slowly walked around the branches when he suddenly opened his wings.  The wings were spread for only a couple seconds but it was enough time for this shot.
100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/500 second at f/5.6, ISO 500.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Buck Deer in Velvet

The antlers on this buck whitetail deer are covered in velvet.  This photograph was taken yesterday, June 5, and the antlers are already quite large.  They should be much larger by fall.
Getting close to a buck is pretty exciting by itself but the photo is special for a couple other reasons.  One, the deer is laying down.  Not as many photos taken of that.  Second, the buck is engaging in self-grooming.  He is not merely standing and looking at the camera but instead is actually doing something.  Wildlife images showing "behavior" are much more interesting.
The light was tricky and hard to work with.  Direct sunlight coming through holes in the overhead canopy   made for extremely bright spots amid the deep shade.  The bright spots in the background of this image are objectionable but we couldn't alter our position because this was the only clear view of the deer through the trees.  Also, the shade was so deep that we needed a high ISO to get adequate shutter speed and this resulted in some loss of detail and contrast.
400mm IS lens, 1/250 second at f/5.6, ISO 3200.