Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Scanning the) Horizon

This is a female Peregrine Falcon:

ISO 400 140mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

ISO 400 140mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

The peregrine falcon scans the horizon looking for prey while it is in flight.  When it  spots a potential meal it can dive at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.  You can tell this is a female by it colored breast feathers.  The link I have included shows a photo of a male.

This photo I took at World Bird Sanctuary, at one of their Camera Day events.  If you live or are visiting the St. Louis area on November 3rd, they will be hosting another event and it is a great opportunity to take photos of various birds of prey in a natural setting.  That was how I managed to get close enough to get this profile shot.

To get this photo I used a tripod.  I was working on a project that is a series of birds of prey in HDR.  In order to make the HDR image I used a series of three images with different exposures.  Combining them later into one image to bring out more detail in the bird.  I used my bracketing setting on my camera and also a very high shutter speed.  For this photo I wanted to have the background very blurred, in part because I wanted to have the viewer focus on the bird, and in part to honor the fact that these birds seem to be able to live with any sort of backdrop as their home.  They can be found nesting in vast open spaces and also very crowded cities.

This particular photo is a 5×7 card and a print, along with the rest of the series which is available for viewing here on my website.  I have also blogged about a few of the other photos.  Here are links for the Eastern Screech Owl, Long-Crested Eagle, Eurasian Eagle Owl, and the Barn Owl.

This post was written in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge which has horizon as a theme for this week.

What do you think of my peregrine falcon? Have you ever seen one of these beautiful birds in flight or diving?  Feel free to leave a comment below.


50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Peregrine Falcon in B&W

I really like the colors in the Peregrine Falcon, but I thought I would try today shooting in monochrome:

ISO 160 50mm f/3.5 1/10

This was taken with a 50mm lens, but isn’t as tack sharp as I would have wanted it to be.  It is a little fuzzy at the tip of the beak, something I missed when I previewed it in my camera.  I will put the original photo below, but the one above has been edited in GIMP.  I cropped, changed the levels, added some contrast and sharpened it. There is a bit of detail lost in the tail, perhaps a flash would have helped with that?

I welcome all constructive comments!


Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Photography

Peregrine Falcon with a 28-135mm lens

If you read yesterday’s post you pretty much knew what was coming today.  Here is the same peregrine falcon featured yesterday taken with the 28-135mm lens:

ISO 800 115mm f/5.6 1/60

A similar looking shot to one from yesterday, but this one has not been cropped.

ISO 100 135mm f/5.6 1/10

A nice, tight, shot.  As you can imagine though, with the slower shutter speed, I have a lot of shots from this series that are quite blurry.  Both pictures were taken using a tripod.



50mm Lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photography

Peregrine Falcon with a 50mm lens

ISO 100 50mm f/1.8 1/250

At the moment when I am taking pictures I like to switch between my two lenses, just to see what I can get with each.  This 50mm lens I am borrowing.  So, far what I like best about it is the amount of light it can let in.  I also like the fast shutter speed which allows the detail of the feathers to really stand out.  The downside being the fact that you have to be really close to your subject to get the picture.  I know there are lenses that can do both, I have one of them on my wish list.  The reason that I have not gone out and purchased additional lenses yet is this: the kit lens and the camera can do a lot, I need to get that sorted out first before I go adding on.  Also the cost, my oldest has suggested I get Canon to sponsor (what she calls) my mid-life crisis.

Here are two other photos using the 50mm lens:

ISO 100 50mm f/1.8 1/250

A profile shot!

ISO 100 50mm f/1.8 1/250

Wings extended!

All photos taken using my tripod.  White Balance set to “shady”.  All three photos have been cropped.




Birds, Photography, Uncategorized

This falcon is faster than shutter speed

Aptly named “Lightning”, this peregrine falcon is faster than my shutter speed.

ISO 1250 135mm f5.6 1/100

It was pretty shady when Lightning was getting settled on the perch.  I didn’t get a clear shot of the wings with the motion frozen, so here is my favorite in motion picture.

Below is my favorite peregrine shot of the morning:

ISO 800 135mm f5.6 1/100

The light was working a bit more in my favor, plus the lack of movement meant I could lower my ISO.  I like the color in this shot as well.

Here is one with the wings tucked in:

ISO 320 135mm f/5.6 1/25

All three photos were taken using a tripod and remote shutter, in an attempt to get a clear a picture as possible.

I love the peregrine falcon.  There are a lot of them in the area.  Their story of coming back from the brink of extinction just goes to show how much harm we humans are capable of inflicting on our environment.  OK, will step off soapbox now.