Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron SP 150-600 f/5-63 (Gen 1) @ 600 mm, ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/8
Rockin’ R6 Ranch with Butch Ramirez
Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 300mm f/4 IS USM L w/1.4x EF Extender, 1/640 sec at f/11; ISO 800
Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron SP 150-600 f/5-63 (Gen 1) @ 600 mm, ISO 400, 1/640 sec at f/14
Rockin’ R6 Ranch with Butch Ramirez
A quick note… Life and work has me incredibly busy. I have been on a 6 month sprint, and almost none of it has been photographic. So for now, as I try to ease into more writing, I’m going to do quick photo posts of what I’ve been processing lately.
Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron SP 150-600 f/5-63 (Gen 1) @ 350mm, ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f/7.1
So I had every intention to write a quick blurb on Wednesday to keep the streak of one post going, but of course life is what happens when we’re making other plans.
That being said, it is hot… really hot… in South Texas right now. I did go out last weekend and made some shots out at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (MLAC) in Bexar County, Texas. But that was a mighty quick trip outside as the the combination of heat and wind made for a miserable dragonfly experience.
The upside of the trip was that I added a species to my “I’ve seen it here” list for MLAC. That would be a Neon Skimmer (Libellula croceipennis). When you’ve made as many trips out to MLAC as I have in the last few years (easily 3 dozen by my estimation), to add a new dragonfly species to that list is unique and welcome. Of course it was too far away to get a good shot of it, but what the heck… Maybe I’ll get luckier next time I’m out.
I was luckier with more common dragonflies, with Blue Dashers, Eastern Pondhawks, Four-spotted Pennants, and Red-tailed Pennants being the most likely targets. I did come away with a species count of 11, which all in all is still not a bad day.
So this weekend has been spent trying to catch up on household tasks. Most were your the usual suspects of keeping a house up and running. But a little out of the ordinary was that I needed to recalibrate the monitors. It had been months because my last one (Spyder4 Pro) started to act weird during the calibration process when I picked up my third monitor. But I’ve had that one for a number of years so I figured it was time to replace it with a Spyder5 Pro. Wonderfully easy process and now all three of the monitors look outstanding. The only problem I had with the entire process was I had to move my monitors closer to the computer because the cable for the Spyder5Pro was too short to get to the monitor that was furthest away. Definitely a First World problem.
Back to the grind tomorrow, but by all accounts it should be a slower week. Of course, now that I just said that…
About the Image:
This Blue Dasher was one of the better shots from my trip last weekend. It was shot off of my Standard Gear for insect work. ISO 400, 1/320 sec at f/13 were the camera settings.
Friends, I have been one busy, busy person. I recently described my life to a co-worker as being a plate spinner trying to do his craft while the floor has been covered in olive oil.
As you can tell by the lack of entries for the last few months, blogging has suffered. I’m hoping to get back onto the wagon blogging again, making at least one evening a week to catch up on writing to share my images and where I’ve been shooting. Not many secrets here…
It isn’t like I haven’t been shooting. Shooting is what keeps the blood pressure and stress levels in check. I just haven’t been taking the time to write about it. With my shoot this past weekend I’ve marked 24 days in the field so far this year–just nine fewer than all of last year.
Speaking of this past weekend, I spent a very hot morning up in Austin making images at Southeast Metro Park, a Travis County park that is due east of Austin/Bergstrom International Airport. I made some great images of a number of dragonflies, but the highlight of the day were a pair of very cooperative robber flies.
Robber flies don’t get a lot of love. They’re all pretty darn ugly. They’re flies. And none of them have “common” names, meaning that if you’re Latin adverse you’re not going to have a lot of fun keeping track of them. And there aren’t really any good paper guides like dragonflies and butterflies have acquired over the last few years.
But they are sure fun insects to work with. The Efferia snowi that leads off the post was a robber fly I had never seen before. Someone on Facebook said it looked like he had sprained his tail and somebody wrapped him with athletic tape. Wonderful species and I got some great shots.
I also ended up seeing 10 species of dragonflies, with good pictures of 7 of them. My favorite was this image of an Eastern Ringtail.
Overall I added 14 images to the portfolio from this trip, bringing the running total up to 478 “keepers” in the library. This is also the first trip where I’ve managed to finish up harvesting all of the keepers out of it since a shoot I did in February. Did I mention I’ve been busy?
About the Images:
Both of the images were made off of the Insect Standard Gear. The camera settings on the Robber Fly was ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/13. I wish I had maybe closed down the f-stop one more stop, but the wind was pretty wicked and I was hoping for sharpness. The Eastern Ringtail was made at ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/11. Wind was a bigger issue on that shot, but everything worked out okay.
The week sure got away from me. Par for the course, I’m afraid. Rather than try to do a couple of posts about last week, I’m going to try to condense this into one.
Last Saturday morning was spent at Southeast Metropolitan Park on the outskirts of Austin. In keeping an eye on some of the Facebook posts and the Flickr page from Eric Isley, I noticed that the dragonflies were coming out in unique numbers up in Austin. A few distinct factors came into play: I hadn’t been out on an Ode hike yet this year, there were unique bugs up in Austin, and the weather looked more favorable on Saturday than Sunday for dragonflies. With that in mind, I made the trip up to the our state’s capital city.
When I arrived we eventually had a gaggle of outstanding odonata photographers. On my way when I contacted Eric I found out that we’d have two more photogs with us: Our mutual friend, Desha, and Carolyn from the Christmas Mountain Oasis near Alpine, Texas. Eventually we also had Greg Lasley join us. Greg’s website is my go-to resource when I can’t find an identification in any of my paper guides.
I mentioned earlier in the week that I had picked up some life list dragonflies and butterflies. On the butterfly side they were the Juniper Hairstreak, the Great Purple Hairstreak, and the Common Streaky-Skipper. On the dragonfly side my first report was wrong: There were 4 life list adds. They were the Mantled Baskettail, the Blue Corporal, the Swamp Darner, and the Springtime Darner. I have maybe one more butterfly to identify, but all in all it was an outstanding day of shooting.
Sunday morning was admittedly all about the pursuit of another life list bird. The keepers of the Crescent Bend Nature Park blind had posted images of a Harris’s Sparrow that had ventured into the blind. As I never saw one, I figured no time like the present.
Truth be told, it wasn’t that great of a shoot. Bad lighting conditions made worse by my forgetting the proper technique to use with the gimbal head after having shot off the older tripod and ball head the day before. I have a few shots where the focus is very good. But the rest show the tell tale signs of the guy behind the camera just not getting it right. It happens. There were maybe three or four keepers in the crowd, but the rest were just average at best.
All in all it was a great weekend of shooting. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to truly harvest any of the shots. Some of them can be found on Flickr, but none of them have been worked to drop into the portfolio.
I had hoped to get some time today to harvest some, but no such luck. Spring chores have shown up in abundance so I spent most of what was supposed to be a processing day instead taking care of the homestead. I’m hoping to get out again tomorrow, though I haven’t decided where I’m going to go yet. Stay tuned.
About the Images:
Both images were shot off of the Standard Gear, though starting with this post the Standard Gear means different things whether I’m shooting birds or dragonflies. I have revised what that page to explain the difference. On the Double-striped Bluet, the settings were ISO 400, 1/200 sec at f/18. On the Harris’s Sparrow the settings were ISO 400, 1/60 sec at f/8.