Wednesday, February 13, 2013

YAY Sunshine!

Yesterday was a glorious day in Haines, so I took the opportunity to drive out the Bald Eagle Preserve again and try to dial in my new lens a bit more. My pictures seemed to come out a bit better and I think it's because there was more light. But I still have to work on this focus thing, some places in the picture look perfect but others are just a little bit fuzzy.
Anyway, I got out to the parking lot, let the dog start his exploring, and grabbed my stuff to go check out a couple of eagles I saw fairly close. Once there I had to set up my tripod, it didn't take nearly as long to get that thing together this time. One of the adult eagles took off during this set up. I got my lens out and started to mount that, pulled out my remote thinking that I should use it this go. The other adult eagle quietly flew off. Then I got my camera body out and attached it, looked up into the trees, and the only eagle left was the immature one...I didn't even realize the second eagle had taken off until I looked up. So I spent some time with the immature eagle, and just soaked up some sunshine. Where I was there was no wind so that made things that much nicer. I had seen some swans a ways off so we decided to move to a different location and see if we could get any good pictures of them.
When we were walking down the road towards another pull off I spotted an eagle perched on a log sunning himself. Then looked down and there was a little family of swans right there! So Gus and I headed down the bank, it was pretty easy for Gus, a little slower for me since I was punching through the snow up to my knees. But when I got to the bottom of the hill I saw a nice little spot on the river bank that was clear of snow and ice. Set up my tripod and attached the camera body and started snapping some pictures. The swans were very cooperative and didn't seem to mind Gus running around too much. They would honk every now and again but didn't take off. Gus of course was finding fish parts buried in the snow. He even found something to roll in...thankfully it was snow and he didn't smell horrible whatever it really was. From my muddy spot on the river bank I could also see the eagle out on the log. So I swung the camera that direction and took some photos of him as well. I'm finding it's a lot harder to get things into focus the further away they are, or the more zoomed in I am. And I couldn't use my remote so I just had to try to be extra still.
I almost wanted to just find a spot to sit and soak up the sun, although I did take my winter coat off it was so warm. Finding a dry, non-muddy place to sit would've been a project. Gus and I spent a good portion of the afternoon out taking pictures and when I got home my face felt a little warm :-)
Here are a couple of shots from the afternoon.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Edited Photos from the New Lens

So far the weekend has turned out to be a rainy one...not unusual in Southeast Alaska, but technically it's still winter. I'm not really complaining though, I'm ready for spring, and we've had some really nice days this past week. But since it's rainy I decided to go through and edit some of the photos I took out at the Bald Eagle Preserve.
I had some eagle pictures come out really well, and some swan pictures come out really bad. I think my problem with the swans is that they were constantly moving. Since they were in the river they never were in the same place. I'm not ecstatic about them but there are a handful I'm pleased with. One eagle was just sitting in a tree so getting shots of him (or her) was pretty easy and they came out pretty well. I also got some shots of an eagle flying...and they came out! Why those eagle pictures did and the swans didn't is beyond me. It surprised me mostly because I didn't think I had my cameras shutter speed set right to get the shot, I guess I was lucky. Here are a handful of pictures, enjoy :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Trying out my new lens

Since it was nice out today, I even sat out on the porch to get some sun, I took a drive out the Bald Eagle Preserve to use my new lens for the first time. My fiance, Jeremy, got me a 600mm - 1200mm lens for Christmas knowing that I love taking pictures and just started a business. I'm not going to lie, I usually just use the preset settings that are on my camera for my pictures so this lens is making me really learn how to use my camera. IE...change the shutter speed and f-stop to get a good shot. At first I was frustrated but eventually got the idea of what I needed to do, so with that I decided trial and error was the best way to learn.
Once out at the pull off, the dog running around looking for dead fish parts, I started to put everything together. I got my tripod out and assembled and my camera body and lens, found a spot that I could see some swans from and started to put everything together. The hardest part was just getting everything set up! The tripod was up and I put the camera on it and then the legs started to get smaller again. The tripod is new too mind you, once I finally got everything to where I could use it I snapped a few pictures. Made some adjustments and the tripod moved probably took me a good 15 minutes before I REALLY figured out all the locking mechanisms in the thing. But once I did it was awesome! I found an eagle nearby and shot a few pictures of him as well before going back to the swans.
Gus had a fantastic time, he always has fun running around in the woods searching for dead things. Which he often does find. I wasn't sure how clear my shots were going to be since sometimes they didn't seem quite in focus, and I'm going to have to get the tripod dialed in a little more so that I hardly have to touch it to take the shot. Or just get it set up so I can use my remote. But, overall for my first real go with the new lens I'm really pretty happy with the outcome. Some of them pictures were really blurry, but others look great! I'll just have to keep practicing.

I haven't done any editing to the photos, I think they'll look pretty good with a little bit of touching up.