Posts Tagged ‘Telephoto Lens’

Male and Female Red-Winged Blackbirds

There are plenty of Red-winged Blackbirds down by Woodbine Park right now. The males are the easiest to spot as they are calling out their territory, but it is usually harder to spot the females as they are better camouflaged. Here are some pics of the ones I was able to see.

I particularly like this shot, which was taken using my new (to me) Olympus E-620 using my 200mm f/2.6 telephoto lens, as there is extra detail captured using this camera’s 12.3 megapixels as opposed to the 10 megapixels in my old E-510. I like how you can make out the touch of “gold” on her shoulder, and the slightly darker patch of feathers just above her beak and eye.

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Female Red-winged Blackbird

A few minutes later I saw another female who had just come out of a bath and was drying herself off. So here’s a pic of slightly soggy female red-winged blackbird.

Female Red-Winged Blackbird After a Bath

Female Red-Winged Blackbird After a Bath

This male red-winged blackbird was on the ground, looking for something to eat. He spotted me and gave a squawk before heading back to look for more food.

Male Red-winged Blackbird Squawking

Male Red-winged Blackbird Squawking

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Bufflehead Ducks

This time I ventured down to the waterfront by Woodbine Beach in order to try to get some shots of some Bufflehead ducks. They’re very shy and invariably swim away from you if they feel they are too close to you. Managed to sneak up on a couple of them who promptly swam away from me when they caught a glimpse of me. Here are a couple of pics of that male and female pair who felt I was getting too close for their comfort:

Male Bufflehead Duck

Male Bufflehead Duck

Female Bufflehead Duck

Female Bufflehead Duck

At what was presumably a more safe distance from people, this pair of Buffleheads swam together along with a small flock of other Buffleheads and assorted other ducks and geese in the harbour by Woodine Beach.

Male and Female Bufflehead Duck

Male and Female Bufflehead Duck

According to the Bufflehead Wikipedia article, they are among the smallest ducks in North America. For a size comparison, here are a couple of male Mallards adjacent to a much smaller male Bufflehead:

A Couple of Male Mallards and a Male Bufflehead for Size Comparison

A Couple of Male Mallards and a Male Bufflehead for Size Comparison

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Female Red-breasted Merganser at Woodbine Beach

It was a windy morning down by the Woodbine Beach, and the waves were very choppy, which was why I was surprised to see what turned out to be a lone female Red-breasted Merganser in an unsheltered bay, ocassionally diving for food under the surface.

Another shy bird, I had to use my telephoto to get these shots of her:

Female Red-breasted Merganser 1

Female Red-breasted Merganser 1

Female Red-breasted Merganser 2

Female Red-breasted Merganser 2

Female Red-breasted Merganser 3

Female Red-breasted Merganser 3

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Moon and Jupiter in the Early Morning Sky

When I stepped out the door early this morning on my way to work, I saw the Moon and Jupiter high overhead. I immediately stepped back inside to grab my camera, fit the telephoto lens onto it as well as the tripod.

Clearly I had missed the closest conjunction point several hours earlier, but I figured this was still worth a shot.

Moon and Jupiter in the Early Morning Sky

Moon and Jupiter in the Early Morning Sky

(Hmm, Jupiter doesn’t even appear in the thumbnail image above, but it does come through as a multi-pixel circle when seen full-sized. Key thing was keeping the Moon and Jupiter in the same shot. Oh well…)

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Small White Butterfly

Finally managed to get a decent picture of a Small White (Pieris rapae) Butterfly, better known to most people as the “Cabbage White”. The damned things keep flitting about, and are very sensitive to anyone near, so I feel lucky that I was able to catch one who held still on a nearby flower long enough for me to crouch down and take a shot with my telephoto lens.

Small White (Pieris rapae) Butterfly

Small White (Pieris rapae) Butterfly

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Beaches International Jazz Festival 2011: Streetfest

Am heading up to the cottage tomorrow and staying for the weekend, so tonight was my one and only chance to see any of the Streetfest portion of the local Jazz Festival. The “jazz” festival is increasingly a misnomer, since the majority of the bands playing are Blues, Latin or something other than Jazz, but the music is fun, free and good, so what’s there to complain about? Unfortunately one of my favourite bands from last year — Big Rude Jake — was not making a return appearance. Oh well. :-(

The day had been the hottest so far this summer, hitting a peak at 37C, and with the humidity feeling much hotter. By the time the bands started up things had started to cool down, but it was still hotter than most people would like. So the energy of some of the bands was a bit “muted”. Diablo de Puente was particularly sedate compared to what I had seen them do last year. (Postscript: apparently the people from a local fitness place brought them cold, wet towels for cooling down, and the energy of the band picked up considerably afterwards).

This was the first time I have taken my f/2 200mm telephoto (and my trusty Olympus E-510) to the festival, and I wanted to see how it would perform in the relatively low light conditions you get after the sun goes down/the music starts up. On the whole, am happy with what I came away with, and the “Supersonic Wave Drive” makes for fast and smooth focusing when needed.

I managed to make it down to Wineva Avenue before heading back, so what you see here is only about half of the extent of the Streetfest festival. In terms of the acts there were several welcome returns by the like of the Dr. Draw, The David Rotundo Band, Fathead, and the Downtown Dixieland Band, but it was good to see a lot of fresh blood as well, including the likes of Dr. Nick and The Roller Coasters, Sambacana, K.C. Roberts and The Live Revolution, and Suzana da Camara.

Here’s a selection of photos I took while roaming Streetfest:

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Halloween Goldfinches

Goldfinches are very flighty birds, and it’s rare that I get close enough to be able to take a decent picture of one. Maybe it’s something to do with the lateness of the season, and getting some last-minute food before migrating south, but there were a couple of Goldfinches in Woodbine Park that let me get close enough to take pictures:

Goldfinch in a Tree

Goldfinch in a Tree

Goldfinch Eating Seeds

Goldfinch Eating Seeds

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Moon + Jupiter and its Moons

I read that the Moon was going to be close to Jupiter this evening, so I set up my tripod, got out the telephoto lens and took a number of shots of which this is the final result.

This is not one shot, but an mix of the best of the shots I took of the Moon and of Jupiter. Jupiter is actually slightly larger to scale (though not by much) so that you can see the relative positions of the moons. And the pic has also been tweaked so that the pixels representing Jupiter and its moons are clear — basically I “knocked out” the representative pixels that appeared, making them completely white. It’s not cheating, it just enhanced! ;-)

Still, the resulting shot is effective:

Moon + Jupiter and its Moons (Ganymede, Io, Calisto, Europa)

Moon + Jupiter and its Moons (Ganymede, Io, Calisto, Europa)

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An Attempt at Astrophotography

Woke up very early this morning, and while making my usual morning tea I looked out the porch door at the back and saw a very bright “star” in the low east. I figured it must be a planet, likely Venus. I confirmed this when I went to check Stellarium on my computer. So I dug out my camera tripod and the telephoto lens and thought I’d try to see if I could catch the planet in one of its phases. The picture below was the best of the bunch I shot.

The planet Venus

Stellarium also pointed out that Jupiter and the moon were prominent in the western sky, so I set up my tripod on the front porch and took some more pictures. The pic below shows Jupiter either flanked by some of its moons, or is a form of lens aberration.

Jupiter and Moons(?)

I’ll have to try and take another set of pics of Jupiter to see whether or not I get the same effect.

I don’t have much to show really, and I can’t help but think that the next stage up in telephoto lenses would be desirable for taking better, more detailed astrophotography pics. Still much to learn!

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Red-winged Blackbird in Woodbine Park

Still sick with a cold, but the dog still needs his walk, and I need to take my “Picture of the Day”. So we went down to Woodbine Park, where we heard the loud squawkings of Red-winged blackbirds claiming territory for themselves and picking the fluff out of the bullrushes in order to line their nests.

A nice shot of a male red-winged blackbird among the bullrushes. Love the telephoto lens — what you see here is maybe 15% or so of the original size of the shot.

A relatively dowdy-looking female red-winged blackbird. She didn’t like me one bit and kept sending a warning squawk to her mate, who only moved when he felt the dog was getting too close.

Another male red-winged blackbird, this one basically claiming that the tree he is in is his.

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