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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 06 Feb 2010 (Saturday) 14:43
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Osprey Nest and Waders from a Kayak in Avalon, NJ

 
JPBones73
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Feb 06, 2010 14:43 |  #1

With 2 feet of snow on the ground, I started going through some images from this summer. I found myself unemployed but it gave me some time to try my luck with birding out on a kayak with my 50D. This is the first summer I seriously tried to shoot birds and I quickly found myself hooked. I rented a variety of lenses: 100-400 IS, 300 4.0L IS w/ my 1.4X and 400 5.6L. I really liked the flexibility of the 100-400 but overall I prefer the 400 5.6 for image quality and focus speed, since there was no IS and I didn't use the TC. I rarely found myself using less than 400mm, anyway. This summer I'm definitely going to rent the lightweight 400 DO, which seems perfect for this kind of shooting. If the 600 DO comes to fruition, I'll be the first in line to rent it.

Shooting from a kayak is the way to go, IMO. It is difficult to compose a shot given currents and and wakes from passing boats and waverunners, but it's so much more fun than shooting from the side of a road where you usually need 500-700mm to get close enough. I love visiting Forsythe NWR near A.C. and Cape May Point State Park but you're usually fighting a losing battle with only 400 unless you have much more patience and experience than I do.

C&C welcome and encouraged.

1. Osprey Nest- the man-made stands are all over the marshlands in and along the water's edge. I usually made a 10 minute pass at a single nest no more than once a week so as not to disturb the birds too much. There are are almost a dozen in kayaking distance, so you don't even have to shoot the same nest twice. The first three were all 100-400. The missed shot in #4 was, ironically, with the faster-focusing 400 5.6L and a ND filter.

1.

IMAGE: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2686/4335603690_f261f0c88a_b.jpg

2.
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4056/4335603752_c64427d91a_b.jpg


3.
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4055/4335603722_f72e7c9a51_b.jpg

4. This one REALLY hurt. It's my #1 all time for birding Greatest Misses.
IMAGE: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2697/4335603834_56e9fa772c_b.jpg

5. Tricolored Heron in Breeding Plumage- There is very little saturation in this image. The beak is really that blue in mating season. Wish I was able to get the sunny side to illuminate the red eye.
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4020/4335603954_ba6643ae78_b.jpg

6. This Snowy Egret has the breeding pink around his beak, although he was the only one I saw all summer who had the pink.
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4035/4334862225_533e0019e4_b.jpg

7. Snowy Egret foraging at low tide. The sun went behind a cloud, otherwise I would have not gotten the feather detail that I did. I'm still having problems with Snowys in sunlight.
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4014/4335603904_a9a2141fde_b.jpg

8. Little Blue Heron, which was heavily cropped.
IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4334988261_1f0abf8579_b.jpg

70D, 7D Mark II
24-105 4.0L, 70-200 2.8L, 400 f/4 DO
http://500px.com/JimMc​Coy (external link)

  
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artyman
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Feb 06, 2010 16:17 |  #2

Some very nice shots there, that last one is a great capture.


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DegasGoneDigital
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Feb 06, 2010 16:20 |  #3

Great shots....


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MarkoPolo
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Feb 06, 2010 17:17 |  #4

Really nice series and agree with Ken about that last one---killer.


Mark

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sparker1
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Feb 06, 2010 18:19 |  #5

This is an outstanding series, JP. Several that really stand out.


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Joe ­ F.N.
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Feb 06, 2010 18:24 |  #6

The flip in the last one is sensational. The whole set is terrific. I enjoyed it a lot.


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JPBones73
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Feb 08, 2010 10:09 |  #7

Joe F.N. wrote in post #9556131 (external link)
The flip in the last one is sensational. The whole set is terrific. I enjoyed it a lot.

Thanks for all of the kind words, guys, especially after seeing your own work.


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Onyxdragun
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Feb 08, 2010 16:06 |  #8

Shot from a kayak? Wow I'd be worried of rolling and getting wet, especially if some numbnut came through with a speed boat a large wake!

I'm renting the 100-400 this weekend, I hope it is alright. Those Osprey photos of yours makes up for the crap I've heard/read about the 100-400 though.


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DanThoman
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Feb 08, 2010 16:56 |  #9

Great shots. I also love to kayak but I'm scared to take the 50D with me. If it got wet I'd be whining for months (or years). I used to take my A1 canoeing all the time but that was on small water with no motor boats.


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Paul ­ A
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Feb 08, 2010 17:22 |  #10

Fantastic series JP, really enjoyed them.


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Chris
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Feb 08, 2010 19:45 |  #11

So how do you feel confident in a kayak that you won't get your gear wet. Especially entering and exiting the kayak?


Chris

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TristateViP
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Feb 08, 2010 20:30 |  #12

F'N awesome shots..tend to forget there is actually land in Jersey still


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JPBones73
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Feb 08, 2010 20:34 |  #13

Onyxdragun wrote in post #9568565 (external link)
I'm renting the 100-400 this weekend, I hope it is alright. Those Osprey photos of yours makes up for the crap I've heard/read about the 100-400 though.

I like the 100-400. In terms of the 'affordable' telephotos I'd still rank it behind the 400/5.6 and 300/4, but that doesn't mean it's not a great lens. I'm sure a 1D Mark IV would be light years ahead of my 50D in image quality, but that doesn't mean that I can't get some good images out of my 50D.

Chris wrote in post #9570030 (external link)
So how do you feel confident in a kayak that you won't get your gear wet. Especially entering and exiting the kayak?

Getting your gear wet is always a risk, but I've been able to minimize it. I was kayaking through the same waters for 4 summers before I ever picked up a camera. The wading birds are always foraging at low tide. I was able to locate areas in the marsh that have less than 2' of water when the tide is low that are adjacent to no wake zones. Only a kayak could get through these places, so you don't have to worry about anyone zipping past you. Even if I dropped my bag, I could still just reach down and recover it. Since I'm paddling through a no wake zone for 90% of the way to these areas and back, I'm safe there, too. I've also been able to dock on sandbars. The terns are fearless, so they'll put on a show for you and dive for food only a yard away from you. That doesn’t make them any easier to photograph, though.

I put my 50D with the lens attached in a large waterproof backpack. I either have the bag on my back when I embark or disembark, or I put in on the dock until after I've climbed in or out. I can do it the easy way if my friends are around to hand it to me, of course. I don't take the equipment out of the bag until I've stopped and I'm ready to shoot. Before I move on to the next spot, I always put the lens cap back on and put everything right back into the zipped the bag. Then I push it into the front of the kayak or secure it with bungee cords. There's always a risk, but I haven't flipped a kayak in 4 years.

When I'm in new areas for the first few times, I always paddle around a bit and evaluate the traffic situation first. Sometimes a friend will come along just for the sun and exercise and act as a spotter. On weekdays, there usually isn't much traffic until the middle of July and even then weekdays are still completely manageable. If you're in a kayak, boaters usually respect that. I would feel a bit nervous in a new locale without scouting it a bit first.


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CanaHolic
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Feb 08, 2010 20:41 as a reply to  @ JPBones73's post |  #14

JP,

Very nice series here, Sounds like a fun time photographing as you make your way along...

Dan


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Chris
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Feb 09, 2010 15:02 |  #15

Thanks for the input. I appreciate the details.


Chris

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Osprey Nest and Waders from a Kayak in Avalon, NJ
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