Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

As I was looking over some images from a few weeks ago searching for one to share, I came upon this shot of a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) that really highlights its beautiful colors and patterns, even from a distance.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As they headed out on the Potomac River this past weekend, these fishermen looked like they had decorated their rods with little Christmas ornaments that glimmered in the early morning light as I watched them from the shore at historic Fort Washington Park in Maryland.

Potomac River

The buildings and gun emplacements at the fort are impressive, but more than anything else, I am irresistibly drawn to the little lighthouse there. Even though I was shooting with a long telephoto zoom lens, I tried several landscape-style compositions in an effort to capture a sense of the location.

Potomac River

Potomac River

 

The shoreline on the other side of the river was hazy and indistinct, almost like an impressionist painting, but it proved to be tough to capture that feeling with my camera. This final shot gives you a sense of what I was going for—I think a tripod might help in the future with this kind of a shot.

Potomac River

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

One of my fellow photographers keeps posting such awesome photos of the birds of Fort Washington Park, a historic fort on the Potomac River in Maryland, that I decided to make a visit there yesterday. Upon arrival, I quickly realized that I did not know exactly where in the park I would be most likely to find wildlife, so I wandered around somewhat aimlessly for most of my time there.

I had been at the park once before and had seen a bald eagle that time, so my eyes looked mostly upwards as I scanned the trees and the sky. Several times I focused my camera on a shape in the trees and was disappointed that it was only a misshapen branch or a clump of leaves. Finally, though, I spotted a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) high in the trees.

Sometimes bald eagles will perch on branches somewhat in the open, but this one was buried among the branches. This photo show my initial view of the eagle as I looked through my lens zoomed all the way out to 600mm.

Bald Eagle

Focusing on eagle was somewhat of a challenge because of all of the branches, but as this blow-up of a part of the image above shows, I was able to capture some pretty good detail.

Bald Eagle

I tried to be stealthy as I moved a bit closer, but the eagle detected my presence and immediately took off. Initially the eagle flew behind the trees, but I managed to acquire my target and capture a number of image before the eagle disappeared in the distance. The lighting was not the greatest and I had to crop the images a good deal, but I am really pleased that I managed to get some relatively sharp views of the eagle’s head.

I am pretty sure that eagles will show up in my blog again in the upcoming months, though not with quite the regularity with which they have appeared recently.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Shortly after I spotted some deer on a little ridge immediately in front of me, they started to run toward the treeline. Without thinking about my camera settings, I pressed the shutter button, hoping to capture the action. If I had been paying more attention, I would have realized that a shutter speed of 1/100th of  a second would not freeze the motion, especially when shooting at the far end of my 70-300mm lens.

When I reviewed my images on my computer, it was pretty obvious what had happened without even looking at the EXIF data. Many of the shots were blurry, but I really liked this image. Instinctively I had panned as I had tracked the deer, blurring the background, and I managed to capture the deer with its hind legs in the air. In many ways, this slightly out of focus shot captures a sense of motion even better than if I had been able to freeze the action by using a higher shutter speed.

I try to be conscious about the settings on my camera at any given moment, but I am happy in this case that my inattention caused the wrong settings to be just right.

White-tailed Deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I tend to take the majority of my wildlife photographs within a few miles of my home in Northern Virginia, but yesterday I boldly decided to cross the Potomac River and venture into Maryland in search of Bald Eagles. One of my fellow photographers has repeatedly posted beautiful photos of eagles at Fort Washington Park and I wanted to see if I too could find them.

Fort Washington is a historic park, now run by the National Park Service, that was built to defend the river approach to Washington D.C. almost two hundred years ago. The park is a bigger than I expected and I wandered up and down walking paths, wondering where I might find the eagles. I spent a lot of time near the water, but eventually decided to climb to the higher ground, where the artillery positions were located.

As I was about to enter the fort, I glanced over at a tree in the distance and saw the shape of a large bird—it was a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). As luck would have it, it started to rain as I started to take some photos, but I managed to get a few relatively clear shots. I had to climb down one hill and up another to get closer to the tree and the eagle flew off before I could get any closer shots.

I don’t know if that tree is a favorite perching spot for the eagles, which I saw soaring at a distance a bit later in the day, but I’m confident that I will return to this location, hopefully when the weather is a bit more hospitable, to search again for a bald eagle.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As I was ending a photo shoot of sunflowers last month with some fellow photographers, one of them noticed a pretty butterfly perched on a leg of one of our tripods.

The butterfly remained on the tripod leg for a long time and appeared to be licking the leg, prompting us to speculate that there might be residual salt from sweaty hands on the leg. Of course, we all gathered around the tripod and tried to snap photos of the butterfly. Eventually the butterfly flew off to some nearby vegetation, where I got this shot of a butterfly that I have not been able to identify.

As we go ready to walk back to our vehicle, the butterfly perched on the pant leg of one of the other photographers and then on my shirt before flying away again. After stowing our gear in the trunk, we figured that we had seen the last of the butterfly.

However, as we were slowly driving away, we noticed that the butterfly was inside the car, eventually moving to the windshield, right in front of the driver. We helped the butterfly out of the car with the aid of a CD cover, but had to admire its persistence—the butterfly really seemed to want to go home with us.

SpottedButterfly lorez

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

As I was photographing sunflowers this past weekend, I came across this Dogbane Beetle (Chrysochus auratus), peering over the edge of a leaf. I can not confirm if it was responsible for the hole in the leaf, but I do like the way that the hole looks in the photo.

I took this shot at the minimum focusing distance of my 55-250mm telephoto zoom (3.6 feet (1.1 m), even though it looks like it was photographed with a macro lens. Often when shooting nature shots, I’ve found it best to make do with the lens that is on the camera at that moment, rather than risk losing the shot by changing to the best lens for the situation.

Dogbane Beetle lorez

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

I was out yesterday on a trip to photograph sunflowers, but couldn’t resist capturing images of insects that my fellow photographers and I discovered, like this beetle—probably a blister beetle—on a chicory flower.

chicory_bugA_blog

In many ways this image was part of an experiment for me. I was using a camera that is new to me, a used Canon 50D that I recently purchased, and this was my test run with it. The Canon 50D is several years old and is far from the bleeding edge of technology, it’s a considerable step up from my Canon Rebel XT. I also was trying to shoot macro-like photos with a telephoto zoom, because my macro lens has been acting up and is now on its way to Canon for repair. Finally, I jumped a couple of versions of Photoshop Elements and discovered today that the interface has changed considerably between versions 9 and 11, so it was interesting trying to work on this image.

Once I get the hang of my new camera and new software, I’m hoping to improve that you’ll be able to see some improvement in the quality of my images.

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

How do you capture a field of sunflowers in a single image? That was my challenge yesterday, when I visited McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Montgomery County in Maryland, where there are 48 acres of sunflowers in a total of seven fields.

I am still going through my photos from yesterday, not sure if any single image captured the feeling of the endless rows of sunflowers. I am happy, though, that I was able to capture this iconic (or perhaps cliché) image of a single sunflower isolated against the sky.

BlueSkySunflower lorez

It should have been a simple shot to take, but initially the sky was overcast and white—good for most kinds of photos, except for this kind of image. I was taking photos with some friends and we joked about having to Photoshop in the sky, but eventually the clouds broke up a little and enough blue showed in the sky that I was able to get this shot.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »