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What's the big Ding-Dang-Darling deal about Florida ...

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Retief, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. anyway, huh? We started our vacation by landing in Miami during a tropical storm and driving to Naples in same. All we knew was that we hadn't seen lightning like this in a long time. So, we plan for our next day when we are driving to Port Charlotte to visit a friend of Nancy's to stop by Sanibel Island. Figured we would spend an hour or so, and about 5 hours later we called Nancy's friend to say we were running late.

    As we started to cross the causeway we were greated by a flock of Frigate Birds and Pelicans hovering above the causeway. No camera handy, and nowhere to stop, so you just have to trust me. But then, we saw this fellow on the shore and had to stop. It should be noted that these are all mid-day, not the best light, rather harsh and I am post-processing on a non-calibrated laptop. I have a lot of work to do when we get home :lol: .

    Great Egret, full frame:
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    Great Egret, head shot, slight crop:
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    Wow, I couldn't get this close to a caged bird in Washington :lol: , and we aren't even close to Ding Darling yet.

    We arrive at Ding Darling and as we start the drive we are greeted by a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. It flew over our car and landing on the road in front of us. I couldn't get set quickly enough for any "standing" shots, the only one I got was this "take-off".

    Yellow Crowned Night Heron, full-frame:
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    So, we move along, seeing more Egrets and cormorants and having a great time in the sun looking for 'Gators. And then, what I went to Florida looking for flies by, and Osprey. A few folks, such as Harris, have guaranteed I could get flight shots of Osprey in Florida, and here we have one from day one.

    Osprey, in flight.
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    Unfortunately for me, as you can see from the caption, I did NOT take this photo, my wife the "non-photographer" did. Man, I am STILL annoyed :oops:  :oops:  . So, here I am, with an "ok" shot of my own, but not what I want, and she shows me this. However, as you will see from further posts, this was the beginning of the "unleashing of a monster....".

    Now we "move on down the road" and find a Snowy Egret close by. The first shot is from Nancy, she is starting to get the hang of things now and no longer is asking "Why do you take more than one shot of something????" :lol: . This first shot is cropped, she forget to use the zoom she was having so much fun. You can see the effect of the harsh light on the back of these birds.

    Snowy Egret - Nancy:
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    Snowy Egret, Full Frame, head shot:
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    Finished off by finding some Pileated Woodpeckers, here is one shot that is a deep crop as they are small birds at quite a distance. This is the perfect example of why the 500mm lens is so useful, 300mm plus 1.4 still doesn't get enough reach.

    Pileated Woodpecker:
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    So, to answer my own question in the subject line, the big deal is that even at the wrong time of year, the wrong time of day, there is still plenty of activity. And boy do I love shooting in the sunlight.

    I have been told that since the hurricanes last year Ding Darling is nothing like it used to be. Well, from two "out-of-towners" I can say the it is still quite a great place to go, and I can still hear my wife muttering about the shot she didn't get :lol: , I'm really in trouble now, as you will see in further posts of our vacation chronicle, and our grand time in Florida.
  2. Great shots Bill, I'm sorry our schedules conflicted. I woulda liked to join you. This time of year, things are a bit slow. Maybe you can come down for the fall migration. I hear DD is smoking then.

    Great series.
  3. Hey, Harris, good to hear from you. Yeah, not only schedules but the wrong side of the state :lol: . A couple of things I have learned from this trip, and one of them is that we need to come back again. The second is that setting my wife up with the D70 and a lens she can easily hand-hold is doubling my processing. The good bit is that she is really having fun.

    One thing we saw when we went to Port Charlotte is that people are still having problems from Hurricane Charlie. There are still people in FEMA housing and they don't expect that to end for another year or so yet.

    Due to our limited time, we missed many of the places that folks had suggested, which is the other reason to come back, and we really enjoyed the time we spent in the Everglads and off Marco Island. Ever try to photograph Osprey's in flight from a boat? It is an experience we should all have. I'll get some of those up in the next few days as well.

    And I sure see why you folks like bird photography down your way, it is truly amazing.

  4. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Glad the sun finally came out for you 2

    Good job on these shots in the high Fla sun. Nancy must've had a ball too!
    I'm curious as to why you felt the need to push the exposure levels up in cam for these very sunny midday shots? Is that an old habit, sort of a carryover of your methods in (often) dark, dreary Oregon? :wink:
  5. Hey Bill, I remember you commenting on some of the Florida pics so I'm glad you got to experience it first hand yourself! You're off to a good start with these and I can't wait to see more.

    Come down for MI3...it should be more of the same, but even better! ;) 
  6. It seem that Nancy got the eye, what the heck, she choose you, hasn't she. From now on you will have to do the processing. (just a tough)
  7. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Wonderful Bill and Nancy.

    Sure wish some of us east coasters could have gotten together with you two.

    Darn.. Well maybe one day Bill...

    Birding down here is truly overwhelming. Ya ready to move from grey and green moss yet :>)))

    My daughter lives in Bremerton..
    I lived up there for 1 1/2 years. Guess why I left :>))

    Pics are great and congtatulations to Nancy.

    She is hooked now. I love it.

    Nancy you go girl :>)))

    Thank You for sharing. Look foward to many more pics.

    Happy Fathers Day to you :>)))
  8. drueter


    Apr 24, 2005
    Southeast Texas
    Nice shots, Bill and Nancy!! Now you see why we love birding in the South!
  9. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    Now, maybe you can understand why I've been down there 7 times in the last year or so. Awesome birdie shooting, huh?

    Great pics and even better narrative. I'll bet that you are excited to get your better half involved in this fun avocation. Makes the whole process much more fun when you can share it with someone.

    You will just have to join us a Merritt III in the Fall.... 8)
  10. Hey Bill, glad you survived the tropical storm. We arrived just in time for it as well. Sure wish we could have worked out a meeting with you and Nancy. By the looks of it I would say the Tamron worked pretty well for her. We had a good time in the Keys and I will post some pictures later. We will have to hook up when you get back home.
  11. Steve, we are in Washington, which is not nearly as dreary as Oregon :lol: :lol: . I may just be dense tonight, but I am not sure I follow your comment about pushing the exposure levels up in camera? It is unusual that I can shoot at decent shutter speeds with ISO 200, and that is what I did for all of these. Can you explain further please?

    Thanks, Kevin, I sure hope we can make it down for that. But to be honest, I am really confused as to where the "best" place is to go, since so much seems so darned good. But we are putting at least one more trip on our calendar, and for sure MI3 would mean finally meeting a grand bunch of folks.

    Gilles, thanks for the comment, and you are sure right about Nancy. Next step is to teach some more of the camera mechanics at which time I'll be in big trouble :wink: .

    Gale, thanks for the comments, and Father's Day has been grand, even if I didn't take a single picture today. By the way, we must have seen hundreds of Black Vultures as we were driving around. What gives? Is this simply because of all the elderly retired folks living in Florida? The Vultures are just sitting around waiting :?: :?: :?: :lol: :lol: You bet we will meet up one of these days, we now have to come back when the birds are around :lol:

    Don, no kidding. We do pretty darned well in Washington, but the biggest difference I see is in how close you can get to the subjects in Fl, it really makes a huge difference. Thanks,

    Frank, no kidding. If I lived as close as you do, I'd sure get there more oftne myself. We are tentatively putting MI3 on the calendar now, keep your fingers crossed.

    Jim, saw your post as well, looks like you had a great time also. It may be a bit before we can hook up as I have to go out of town for work, but we should plan an evening to stare at the gazillions of images we all got.

    Thanks, all, Nancy and I really appreciated all the information as well as the kind comments here.
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