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Posts Tagged ‘dawn’

Saturday morning at dawn I noted than an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) had already claimed the most prominent nesting site at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. There are several man-made nesting platforms scattered through the wildlife refuge and there are usually some additional osprey nests in trees and one on the top of a hunting blind on stilts in the water. This particular nesting platform is visible from the parking lot, so it was easy to check to see if it was occupied.

osprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love the early morning hours and enjoy watching the darkness give way to the light. This morning I was pleased to be able to capture the predawn colors and then the actual sunrise at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

It was a wonderful way to start the new day.

dawn's early light

sunrise at Occoquan Bay

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Normally I plan my photo expeditions so that I arrive after the sun has already risen. After all, if I want to photograph wildlife subjects, I need to have enough light to be able to see them. Recently, however, I have been trying to get there before sunrise in order to capture images of the color in the sky. This is becoming a problem for me, because the gates of the wildlife refuge where I like to explore do not open until 7:00 in the morning and we have almost reached the point in the year where the sun rises even earlier than that.

On Tuesday, I arrived at Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge at about 7:05 and the color in the sky was amazing, a beautiful red color tinged the clouds. My view of the most colorful parts of the sky was blocked by trees, so I did my best to frame the sky with those trees. My the time I reached the water, the most saturated colors had disappeared, but in some directions I could still see some glorious pastel colors and I captured the second image. I love the abstract quality of that image, a depiction of nature at its simplest, a series of wonderful shapes and colors.

colorful dawn

colorful dawn

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A few days ago I posted a shot of a sunrise over Occoquan Bay and I remember waiting somewhat impatiently for the sun to rise. Fortunately I took some shots as I was waiting and as I finally went over those shots today, I was happy that they showed some of the beautiful colors as the night finally turned into day.

The sunrise was by no means spectacular—its beauty was more subdued and subtle. You’ll probably notice that the color changes a bit in each of the images. I think that the colors were influenced by the direction in which I was pointing my camera and the amount of light present in the scene.

pre-dawn light

pre-dawn light

pre-dawn light

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Three Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) silently swam into view in the early morning light, their passage creating a trail of ripples in the still waters of the little creek. A sense of tranquility filled the air as another day slowly began.

wood ducks

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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As I drove through the gates at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge this past Friday, a thick fog (or mist) was hanging low over the fields. The sun was just beginning to rise and it was still pretty dark. Although my goal for the day was to photograph birds, I decided to make an attempt at capturing the feeling of the moment and quickly realized the difficulty of that task—it’s a real challenge to capture the delicate nuances of light and shadows and the subtle shades of the rising sun when there is so little available light.

I felt a bit uncomfortable as I was shooting these images, a clear indication that I was way outside of my comfort zone, but I think it is good to try new approaches and subjects in order for me to keep on growing and learning as a photographer.

 

misty morning

autumn mist

autumn path

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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It’s just starting to get light outside, the dawning of a new year. It’s time to hang new calendars and to try to remember 2017 on my checks. I’m not really into setting resolutions, but New Year’s Day is a good time to stop to reflect on the past year. Then it will be time to boldly step into the as yet uncharted territories of 2017,  certain only that there will be both challenges and opportunities—I hope that I will learn and grow irrespective of the circumstances,

Best wishes to all those who read and/or view my blog for a healthy and happy 2017.

I took these shots as the sun was rising early yesterday morning at Huntley Meadows Park for the final time in 2016. The treeline to the east blocked me from seeing the actual sunrise, but the colors were spectacular for a few brief moments.

sunrise

sunrise

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The sky was mostly clouded over as I made my way toward the beach in the early morning, but the dawn’s early light helped me to see the wooden pathway through the dune grass at Old Orchard Beach in Maine. Although I couldn’t see the sun itself, a reddish glow was reflected on the clouds and sometimes onto the water.

It was a fun challenge to try to capture the beautiful light in different ways, from the very realistic to the almost abstract.

dawn's early light

dawn's early light

dawn;s early light

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A walk along the beach early Halloween morning in Ocean Park, Maine helped to refresh my mind, my body, and my spirit. I had made a quick trip to Maine for a family emergency and was feeling really stressed. The peace and power of the ocean had an amazing therapeutic effect on me.

The tourists are now almost gone from this vacation area south of Portland and the beach was mostly deserted except for me, some shore birds and an occasional dog walker.

gull at dawn

shorebirds at dawn

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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In the early light of the dawn, I captured this solitary Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in deep reflection, contemplating the start of a new day.

There is nothing really complex about this image, but I like the way that it conveys the mood of that moment, a moment when the world seemed to be totally tranquil, uncluttered by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I love the early morning.

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Sunrise yesterday was at 5:59 and I managed to get this shot of a beautiful little fawn in the cattails at 6:05, when there was just barely enough light for my camera to focus.

Summer weather in the Washington D.C. area is often miserable—hot and humid—and I decided to visit my local marshland park really early to avoid some of the oppressive heat. When I left my house in the pre-dawn darkness, however, it was already 80 degrees (27 degrees C) on a day that was forecast to reach 96 degrees (35 degrees C).

I could hear a lot of movement in the marsh as I made my way along the board walk and occasionally would catch a glimpse of some activity as it grew progressively lighter. I encountered another photographer and he was the one who spotted the fawn and pointed it out to me—I am pretty sure that I would not have seen it without his help.

We didn’t see any adult White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with the fawn, but their presence could easily have been hidden by the thick stand of cattails. I had time to snap off only a few photos before the fawn slowly turned his back on us and slowly faded into the background.

What a wonderful way to start my day.

fawn

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This is what Huntley Meadows Park looked like this past Friday morning around 6:00, with low hanging mist covering the fields, and the early morning silence broken periodically by the calls of Red-winged Blackbirds.

Normally I am so anxious to take close-up shots that I forget to try to capture the surroundings. This time I remembered and think the shot gives a pretty good idea of the way things felt and looked as the day began.

dawn_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Walking along the waterfront of Norfolk, Virginia as the sun was beginning to rise, I noticed a pair of larger birds approaching that were definitely not  gulls. I am not sure what kind of birds they are, but the shape of the bill suggests to me that they might be Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis).

There was just enough light to partially illuminate the underside of the wings and the sky was divided into areas of pastel blue and pink. The flyover of these two birds was a great way to start the day.

Brown Pelicans in flight

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light? Peering through a break in the bushes, I could just barely make out the unmistakeable shape of a male Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) as he slowly paddled away from the shore of a small pond at my local marshland park.

Hooded Merganser

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There is something really special about the moment when the darkness of the night finally gives way to the early light of the dawn and the sky is tinged with delicate shades of pink and orange. The silence is broken by the sounds of awakening birds as their day begins.

It’s not an optimal time for wildlife photography—there is simply not enough light to reveal all of the colors and the details of the subjects. Recently, though, I managed to capture a sense of the dawn in this image of a duck ascending into the air, heading for an unknown destination.

Early bird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As the new year dawns, it seems appropriate to post this photo I took last weekend at my local marsh, as the early morning sun peeked through the trees and cast its first rays of light onto the cattails.

Best wishes to all for a happy, safe, and blessed 2014.

cattail_dawn_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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In the faint light and fog of the pre-dawn hour, I watched the shadowy forms of a small group of deer move slowly across an open area at my local marsh, heading for the treeline. My attempts to photograph them while they were moving were not successful. Once they reached the edge of the trees, however, this male White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) stopped for a moment and looked back at me. A moment later, he was gone.

deer3_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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In an effort to avoid the unbearable summer heat, this past Friday I went out to my local marsh just as the sun was rising and watched as the sun slowly illuminated the flowers and vegetation and burned off the mist that lingered above the fields.

marsh_dawn_blog

I don’t have a lot of experience shooting landscapes, but am relatively content with the composition I chose. I am also happy that I was able to capture the orange shade of the sky and some of the mist. A lot of the details are lost in the shadows, but that was the way it looked in the limited dawn light. In case you are curious, the flowers in the foreground are a kind of hibiscus that grow in the marsh—I think they are known as Swamp Rose Mallows (Hibiscus moscheutos).

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One of my fellow bloggers, Lyle Krahn, asked me to take some landscape shots to give readers a better idea of the scenery at the marsh at Huntley Meadows Park, where I have been shooting a lot of my nature photographs.

I don’t have a lot of experience taking landscape-style photos, but I did try to step back this morning and shoot some photos of one of the water areas in the park, where I often see geese and ducks taking off and landing. I took this photo just after the sun had risen today, the day of the winter solstice. In the background of the photo you can see part of a field of cattails, through which a boardwalk runs. There is also a large wooded area of the park and an area with a beaver lodge and pond. It’s pretty amazing to have such a treasure in the midst of a suburban area.

dawn_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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