Tag Archives: morning

Happy Earth Day 2018!

Watching The Sunrise

Happy Earth Day to you, this April 22nd, 2018.  I feel like I experience Earth Day every time I visit a national park.  On this occasion, I was up with scads of other people at Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, watching:  the sunrise.

 

 

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Filed under 5DS, 5DSR, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Geology, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Spring, sunrise, Travel, Utah, Utah

A Mid-Winter Photographic Visit to Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

As a rule, Texas enjoys nice, mild winters that are warm enough to encourage many bird varieties to stick around.  So on a nice, sunny Saturday morning, I took my Canon 1DX and 5D Mk III along with my 100-400mm and 24-70mm lenses for a morning  visit to a nearby state park.

Early Harginber of Spring

A Warmer-Weather Harbinger

Lovely Morning On Creekfield Lake

Early Morning on Creekfield Lake

Watching And Waiting

Watching and Waiting

Balancing Act

Balanced

Quite A Mouthful

Quite A Mouthful

Cmon Baby Just One Little Kiss

Aw Cmon, Baby, Just One More Kiss

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Filed under birds, Brazos Bend State Park, Life, nature, Parks, Photography

Webs

Spider And Web

Whenever I feel restless and in need of some photographic therapy, I head out to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, a little less than 20 miles from my home in southeast Texas.

This past Saturday morning, I headed out that way with the intention of getting to my favorite spot in the refuge to capture some scenery shots with the ground-hugging mist floating above the landscape.

As I drove along the refuge road, I noticed all these spider webs sparkling in the morning sunlight.

Sunlit Webs

Strung Up

Web

Naturally, I had to stop.

Of course, this meant by the time I arrived at my favorite spot, all the mist was gone.

Web

That’s ok.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Note:  capturing images of dew-dappled silken strands strung across the air from one tree/fence post / plant stem to another is a bit of a challenge with a telephoto lens.  The lens simply doesn’t want to autofocus on something that ephemeral, choosing instead to either focus beyond the web, or not at all.  I probably should have used the manual focus except my eyes just don’t focus as well as they used to and manual focus on anything other than infinity is a chore.

For the images above, the ISO ranged from 400 – 500, shutter speed ranged from 1/125 – 1/320, f-stop ranged from 5.6 – 7.1 and the focal length was 400mm.

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Filed under Brazoria NWR, nature, Photography, telephoto lens, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

Morning At 40-Acre Lake

Most photographers come to Brazos Bend State Park in Texas for the wildlife.  I do that too, but I also come to this place for the landscape photo ops.  On this particular morning, I left home at a little before 7AM to arrive at 40-Acre Lake by 7:30;  just in time for some nice morning light.   This is the observation/fishing pier.  Fishing is free here, but no boating or swimming is allowed (note the sign regarding alligators, of which I saw several).

1047-2_Sunrise On 40 Acre Lake

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Filed under Brazos Bend State Park, Landscape, Parks, Photography, Texas

A Stormy Morning at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Rain has been predicted for the past couple of days.  With that rain, I figured there might be some interesting storm clouds over at the Brazoria NWR.  I woke up this morning at 6AM, peeked out the window, saw some big puffy clouds, and was on the road to the refuge before 7AM.

The morning did not disappoint:  dramatic storm clouds, distant thunder, sporadic flashes of lightning, and hordes of  herons, egrets, black-necked stilts, terns, some roseate spoonbills in the background, and four different sightings of American alligators.

For photography with storm clouds (or any kind of  clouds, really), always make sure you have a graduated ND filter with you.  During the really dark part of the morning, I removed the circular polarizer.  However, as the daylight progressed, I placed the polarizers back on the lenses.  Polarizers make blue skies bluer, clouds more dramatic, and can darken water and either enhance or eliminate reflections, depending upon which way you turn the polarizer ring.

My first stop was the refuge center’s lawn, where I photographed a bunny that looked a little the worse for wear, bless its heart.

8012_Bunny

8049_Bunny

8076_Bunny Closeup

After that, it was a few hundred feet to the boardwalk over Big Slough (pronounced “slew”).

7699_Stormy Morning Big Slough

7702_Sunrise Over Big Slough

7705_Stormy Morning Big Slough

Before getting into the car to head to Olney Pond, I stopped to photograph this little mockingbird.  They are wonderful posers.

8084-2_MockingbirdCROP

As I closed in on Olney Pond, I could hear a cacophony of noise before I even saw the birds.  I couldn’t believe my eyes – it was a freaking heron and egret  convention (along with some stilts, terns, and one or two alligators in the mix).  So, if you ever are in the area and want to visit the refuge, I’d say the early morning is the best time to see the birdlife.  Oh, and make sure you have your bug repellant.  Those Cutter wipes are awesome.

7714_Stormclouds Over Olney Pond

8161_Breakfast On Olney Pond

8120_Herons and Egrets

8139-4_Herons and Egrets CROP

8149-2_Heron Reflection CROP

8220_Great Egret VERT

This guy was looking for breakfast, and no, it did not get the heron you see in the background.

8191_American Alligator

As the thunder rolled in the distance, and a teeny bit of rain sprinkled on the car, I continued along down the road and set up my tripod.

This is looking back up the road from whence I came.  I could see a “thunder bumper” beyond, as the storm rolled over and past me with but a few sprinkles.

7729_Looking Back

7718_Stormy Morning

7726_Looking Up The Bayou

7752_Stormy Sunrise

7771_Storm Over The Coast

By the time 8AM arrived, the storm clouds had departed the area and the sky was starting to get its typical hot, hazy look on a humid Texas day.  Plus, the mosquitoes were ganging up on me (but the Cutter wipes held true), and I wanted to get home to start working with my new photos.

All in all, it was a very good, stormy morning, at the Brazoria NWR.

7785_Bench With A View

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Filed under Brazoria NWR, Clouds, Landscape, Photography, Texas

Morning Vs. Evening: The Changes To An Image

In my previous post about the Brazoria NWR, all of the photos  in that post were taken during the morning hours of 9:30AM and after.   The very next evening, the weather, sky, and clouds were perfect; I just had to return to the NWR for some evening images.  I used the same camera (Canon 5D Mk II) and the same two lenses (70-200mm and 16-35mm).  I tried to take photos of the same (or almost the same) locations as were taken during my morning shoot.  See what a difference the time of day, lighting, clouds, and weather can make to change the looks of the same image location.

Morning:

7638_Big Slough View REV

Evening:

7640_Evening on Big Slough

Morning:

7667_Reflections

Evening:

7666-2_Evening At Olney Pond

Morning:

7635_Big Slough View2

Evening:

7651_Evening On Big Slough

Morning:

7675_TX Wetland

Evening:

7689_TX Wetland Evening

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Filed under Brazoria NWR, Photography, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

A Seattle Morning As Seen From My Hotel Window And A Visit To The Waterfront Aquarium

94C1024_The Ferry and The Mountain

My previous post was getting a little long – not so much with words as with images.  So I knew I needed to break my visit to Seattle into two separate posts.

I am not a lazy person at all, but I must tell you that most of the photos you see of the waterfront in both the previous post and this post, were taken from my hotel room window!  I managed to stay in the comfort of my own room, complete with bed, desk, TV, and fridge –  and look out the window to capture some wonderful, quintessentially-Seattle images.  All I had to do was aim my 70-200mm lens (handheld) either straight ahead, to the right, or to the left (sometimes hanging out of the sill a little bit).

As I mentioned in my previous post, the view window of my room was such that I could open it up and literally drop a line and fish out of it if I wished!  No screen and only a very short railing protecting me from the elements.  The bellman told me that on occasion, they still had to drag people out of the bay because they’d fallen overboard…..usually, that incident involved alcohol.  Big surprise.

Since I had just arrived in Washington the day prior, my body clock still operated on Texas time.  Needless to say, I was up at about 3AM Seattle time (5AM according to my body clock – time to get up for work).  So I dressed, made coffee (yes, I brought my own coffee and purchased real cream up at Pike Place Market Creamery the afternoon prior), opened the windows to let in the fresh, crisp, salt air, and sat down to my laptop to process photos.  Occasionally, I would get up to look out the window.   The scenes that greeted me that morning made me realize just how lucky I was to be there right at that moment.

At dark-thirty, when the ferries begin their day.

94C0276_Evening Ferry Ride

The blue hour, as the morning progressed.

94C0361_Moon Over Elliott Bay

The Mountain was out on that day.

94C0379_Seattle Waterfront Morning

A low bank of heavy, cottony clouds partially obscured the Olympic Mountains.

94C0465-2_Morning Ferry Run PANO

Clouds, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains peeking out, and Shilshole Marina.

94C0494_Mountains-Clouds-Shilshole Marina PANO

A quintessential Seattle day.

94C0549_Olympic Kind of Day

I’d decided earlier that morning to visit the Seattle Aquarium.  I needed more practice taking fish photos and wanted to test my brand new lens. But first, I wanted to take a walk along the waterfront.  For this day, I used my own Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105mm lens plus the rented Canon 5D Mark III and the 50mm f1.2 lens.  I wanted that 50mm lens for aquarium shots because it’s a fast, sharp prime.

4725_Waterfront Harbor

4741_View of the Needle

4784_Seagull and Skyscraper

The Seattle Aquarium opens at 9:30AM.  It costs $19 and some-odd cents for a ticket (why they just don’t make it an even $20, I don’t know).  On this particular day (the Saturday before Easter), the place was jam-packed with kids and parents.  Try battling that combo to get a particular photo.

The first sight to greet the visitor is this scene.  The docent (just outside of this view) is chatting with the diver feeding the fish, educating and entertaining the audience at the same time.  The really little kids are the most fun to watch.

94C0589_Feeding The Fish

From there, one passes on through various exhibits including a number of petting tanks, where kids (and grown-ups like moi) can touch the anemones and star fish.  After touching wet, soft, squishy sealife, one looks up toward this very cool circular aquarium, a portion of which is hidden beneath the floor.  They call that the Moon Jelly exhibit.

94C0642_Moon Jellies

94C0647_Aqua Neon Jellyfish

94C0677_NeonBlue Jellyfish

94C0682_Neon Jellyfish

94C0668_Jellyfish

Next are the exhibits for the giant Pacific octopus, then a number of other fish that I can’t identify; and the frustrating thing about the gift shop is that it’s geared toward kids – I never saw a decent fish identification guide in the shop….oh well, that’s what Amazon.com is for.

94C0692_Giant Octopus

94C0694_Suction Cups

94C0784_Pink Spines ORIG

94C0794_Scorpionfish

Although I used a fast lens, I kept the ISO pretty high in order to allow for a relatively fast shutter speed to try and get a clear image of the fish, which are constantly on the move.  I think I maybe used my 24-105mm lens once or twice.  It’s not a fast lens, but I needed the wide angle view for a couple of shots.

94C0896_Inside the Aquarium

94C0912_Otter

After the aquarium visit, I realized I was tired and my shoulder hurt from the cameras and lenses (and souvenirs and food I’d purchased at the Market earlier that morning – no more hotel re$taurant for me).

I was not going to kill myself trying to do everything on this visit to Washington.  I simply could not do it all and still enjoy the scene and the moment.  So, I took my goodies, camera, and self back to the hotel to process images and photograph more wonderful Elliott Bay water scenes from my room window.

94C0988_Plying The Waters

94C0997_A Nice Day To Be Outside

It was definitely a great day to be in Seattle Open-mouthed smile

Note:  If you have the opportunity to travel to Washington, by all means, stay in Seattle a night or two.  And, if you can afford to splurge a little, stay either at the Inn At The Market (located smack dab in the midst of Pike Place Market), or at the Edgewater Hotel – and get a water view room.  Both hotels have discounts during various times of the year.  A discount based upon a reservation 7 days ahead of time with no refund was how I snagged my room.  Worth every penny to me.  Their restaurant is lovely, with wonderful views, outdoor dining, and awesome food.  However, it’s on the pricey side.  Thankfully there are a bunch of neat places to dine up in Pike Place Market, with prices ranging from $2 to $$$, depending upon your food budget.  My room was clean and comfortable, which is all I really ever require of any room in which I stay.  I don’t need many amenities, although an in-room fridge and coffee maker are nice (I actually packed a small 4-cup coffee maker and a package of ground coffee in my luggage, since I tend to wake up very early in the morning to review and edit my photos – during this WA trip, I took around 3000).

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Filed under Photography, Seattle, Travel, Vacation