Love is in the air…

Birds are like people when it comes to looking for a mate they use pretty eye coloring and put on fancy feathers with hopes to fine the love of their life (at least for 1 season).****GREAT EGRET BREEDING FEATHERS/ GREEN LORE/ PHONESCOPE-9654Great Egret

****CATTLE egret breeding plummage head feathers up*-2640Cattle Egret

****tri color heron breeding eye 2-2557Tri-color Heron****PURPLE GALLINULE-2488 copyPurple Gallinule


****gbh WITH BREEDING FEATHERS /phonescope-9602Great Blue Heron

All we are is dust in the wind so count your blessings and go take more photos.

Do You See What I See…  © PC PHOTO 2017 All rights reserved

A birds eye view

Photographers often visit and revisit certain locations. One of my favorite places to photograph again and again is Circle B Bar Reserve. After hiking countless miles over many years photographing the landscape and wildlife I took to the sky for a birds view.*1 Liftoff 0555


The Discovery Nature Center complex is where visitors begin their experience at the reserve. The lake looks close by the center and it is as the crow flies but when walking the  trails you discover it is quite a trek.*1a discovery ctr 1a-0383


Above the treeline where Alligator Alley and Shady Oak trails meet was disorienting because at ground level the tree canopy is so dense not much light gets through. It took a couple passes overhead before I was orientated to where we were on the property.*1b treelined trails 1b-0370


Soaring over Lake Hancock the observation platform is below, it was at this very moment I felt I was seeing the view as a bird does.*1c observation platform 1c-0450


Heading into the Banana River marsh area is the intersection of Heron Hideout, Alligator Alley and Marsh Rabbit Run trails one of the easiest locations to recognize and most traveled on if you are a regular visitor to the reserve.  *1d iconic trail 1d-0464


This is one of my favorite views on that day even with the hazy sky because it shows the expansiveness of the marsh area and this is only a partial view of it.*1e majestic marsh 1e-0463


Eagle Roost trail reveals a landscape of upland habitat that is so different from the lake and marsh areas with its long leaf pines, sand and grasses it’s a no wonder why National Geographic wrote about Circle B’s diversity.*1f diverse landscape 1e-0467


In a flash it was time to head back to the base so I took one final look back at the fabulous vista from an unseen vantage point unless you are in the air. *1g last look 1g-0483


Back at the base landing on water is much softer than tarmac landings in a 2 seater plane. Many thanks to my pilot Luke who without his skill I would not have viewed this wilderness area from the sky.*1h back at base 1h-0546

This wraps up a glimpse from my adventure into a birds eye view at my happy place. If you are a regular visitor to Circle B you will recognize familiar sights and if you have not been this is an overview of the lay of the land that is teaming with wildlife.

*1i free ad 1i-0302Now a little well deserved free advertising, if you ever considered a sightseeing flight in central Florida I highly recommend Brown’s Seaplane in Auburndale, their staff is friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating.

Special thanks to my husband for his thoughtfulness to arrange this outing for me on our anniversary.

Do You See What I See…  © PC PHOTO 2016 All rights reserved

A Limpkin family chronicle

Limpkins are found in swamps and marshes in Florida they feed primarily on apple snails. The photo below shows an apple snail on the trunk of a bald cypress tree. The pink clusters on the tree trunk and the reed are eggs that the snail has already snail laying eggs-4765

Limpkins nest on floating vegetation or in trees, this nest is in a tree. Incubation time for their eggs is approximately 27 days.1 - sitting on nest-9309

8 chicks hatched from this nest, getting a family portrait was impossible with the chicks exploring their new world.  3 - limpkin family-4000

This chick stood a away from the family pensively watching and learning.4 - 3 days new watching and learning-3991jpg

Meanwhile theses three amigos formed a close knit bond that endured up to the time they matured.5 - 3 amigos _DSC3995

Adults hunted apple snails and fed the insatiable appetite of the chicks for weeks.6 - adult feeding apple snail to chick _DSC4004

When it was time to move from one location to another the adults would carry a snail shell knowing that the chicks would follow.7 -  time to cross the marsh - follow us_DSC4538-28 - follow me _DSC4541One by one the chicks entered the marsh waters following the adult.9 - chicks following parents across the marsh _DSC4544Is this where the saying “keeping your ducks in a row” comes from? (Yes, I’m aware these are not ducks 😀)

Once on the other side of the marsh this little Limpkin takes its iconic place close to the adults mouth waiting for food.10 - safe on the other side of the marsh _DSC4512-2

At 2 weeks the parents continued to bring the brood to the same area to feed, the water level hadn’t receded after a heavy rain and neither the adults nor chicks were happy to have wet feet all day long.limpkin chicks 2wks after 5" rain pin feathers beginning to show-5089 Note the downy feathers fading giving way to pin feathers at 2 weeks. limpkin chick 2wks  pin feather-5329

At 3 weeks of age the chicks have more than doubled in size and the pin feathers continue to fill in on their wings.  A couple of the chicks have disappeared from the family however, the dynamic bond continues with the amigo siblings sticking close by one another while the chick in the foreground remains a solitary creature.limpkin chicks 3wks pin feathers 3 amigos-6145

At 6 weeks the Limpkin chicks are nearly the size of the adults and they are learning to find food for themselves yet they don’t pass an opportunity to slip under a parent that is hunting in hopes for a bit to eat.classic limpkin position 6 wks-7510limpkin chick 6wks being fed 2-7478

By the time 7 weeks passed only four chicks had survived. I wondered what happened had an alligator or snake or bird of prey taken them… I choose not to dwell on the loss because it is the other side of wildlife and nature the cycle of life and my main focus is on the beauty and wonder side of the cycle.

I observed this Limpkin family for 2 months watching how the parents cared for their young and taught them how to survive. It was interesting that when the chicks were displaying signs of sibling rivalry the parents didn’t intervene they let the youngsters work it out on their own.  During the chicks growth there were moments that I felt a personal pride watching their accomplishments it was they were a part of my own family. But as all good things come to an end so did the chronicling of this feathered family, they grew up and went off in their own separate directions. I hope you have enjoyed the chronicle of this Limpkin family and are encouraged to discover nature for yourself. Now go take more photos!📷📷

Do You See What I See…  © PC PHOTO 2016 All rights reserved

Test shots from Nikon 200-500

Seems like I have been away from blogging for ages. I was away from the computer but I never put the camera down. Matter of fact I attended a photo workshop and have shot more frames in the past 2 months than I did all summer long.

Nikon released their latest big zoom the 200-500 AF-S prior to my workshop but I didn’t order it until after I got back home. I’ve taken it on 2 outings since it arrived last week and will share a some examples from todays shoot.

This first shot of a black swan is sooc the f5.6 delivered a pleasing bokeh.

black swan sooc -5454

ringed neck duck mirror image-5188

A heavy crop on the mirror image of the ring necked duck and the white swan closeup doesn’t show alot of distortion. Though I hope Adobe will be adding the lens correction profile to Lightroom soon.

eye of the swan-5281I haven’t tried the “Sport” mode that was added to this lens so far. That’s on the to do list next time out. The biggest surprise I had was too much lens compared to what I am used to with the 80-400mm. Never thought I’d say that! It’s a nice lens and will be an everyday part of my kit but it won’t replace the 80-400 however it is a great compliment to it. All of the shots in this post are DX format shot with D7200. Next outing will test its performance with full frame D610.

Other reviewers have stated that this lens design leans towards hand held shots. It can be done and can be used at lower shutter speeds than most long lenses allow you to shoot but IT IS heavy and the 95mm barrel is more than a handful for smaller hands. A quick mention the 200-500 performs well with the TC-14E III although it is a slow focus and manual focus is better suited for birds in flight.

Thanks for taking time to stop by and listening to my thoughts! It would be great to hear thoughts from others who have been using this lens. Until the next post… go take more photos!

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved

In a hammock

waiting for the rain to stop-0227
Have you ever heard of blue sky lightening? Lightening can strike within a 15 to 20 mile radius of a thunderstorm. Many people are struck by blue sky lightening when it isn’t raining. Why am I telling you this? I was bike riding this week when a storm formed near the area I was riding. I got back to the car before the rain started but chose to wait out the thunder and lightening to pass before loading the bike on to the car to leave, I’m not much of a gambler and didn’t want to tempt fate. The parking area was in an oak hammock and this is one of the views I had to gaze on while waiting out the storm. Not a bad place to pass time, right?

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved

Finding my groove while photographing birds

Anhinga-landing-1I had one of those ahh-ha moments during practice photographing bif’s this past week. The stress I’d felt when I first began this exercise wasn’t there, the mechanics were making sense and I felt relaxed for the first time. After watching some birds fish it dawned on me that they don’t get their target catch every time they just kept trying. And, that was the ahh-ha moment for me, I didn’t have to get every shot perfect I just have to keep at it.

I took time to observe their behaviors and anticipate their next move and I chose the moments I felt would be good for a photograph. I was in a zen place, I’d found my groove and it felt good, I was enjoying being outdoors immersed in nature not stressed over getting the shot. The purpose of the day became about the experience not getting the shot 😄 Were all the shots winners? Most certainly not but it doesn’t matter.

This is the final post on my bif quest for now, once the gimbal head arrives and I test it out I’ll post an update so until then…

Thanks for listening now GO TAKE MORE PHOTO’S!!

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved


Birds in flight… I stink at photographing them. There, I’ve made a public proclamation. I’ve made this statement to friends when we have been out shooting. I’ve said that I need to practice I just never made the effort until recently. Yesterday I shot 400 frames of flying birds. About 200 frames were deleted in the field and another 150 frames while viewing the days results on the computer. 


The photo’s in this post are ok but I want spectacular. Now since I have shared my dirty little secret with the inter-web I will be compelled to put effort into nailing this part of wildlife photography, where I can come home at the end of a shoot and be wowed by my own stuff having captured sharp eyes, good exposures and fine details in well composed frames.


I have decent equipment, Nikon bodies with good sensors and Nikon glass, no kit lenses. My Manfratto CF tripod is ok but the ball head just doesn’t feel right when I’m using the 80-400. Panning drags and is jerky and no matter how tight I lock the head it drops so I’m fighting the equipment rather than flowing with the process. A gimble head will rectify those issues. I’ve researched and I know what I want it’s just the investment that has held me back. Which is silly because I am weary of being frustrated and fatigued from fighting with equipment that just isn’t designed to get the job done. Don’t get me wrong that ball head head is fine for smaller lighter lenses that I use for landscape and macro work it’s just the wrong tool for the job I’m trying to do.


Will a Wimberley Gimbal tripod head solve all my issues with bif’s? No, but surely it will assist me in achieving my personal goal of shooting spectacular bifs, then I can focus on other aspects of bird photography like my timing and camera settings.

Thanks for listening now GO TAKE MORE PHOTO’S!!

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved