Hawn State Park – Orchid Valley

Orchid Valley – 20 mm focal length equivalent, 1/60 sec., ISO-160, Aperture value not recorded
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit- 20 mm focal length equivalent, 1/15 sec., ISO-640, Aperture value not recorded
Rhododendron prinophyllum (roseshell azalea) – 20 mm focal length equivalent, 1/40 sec., f/11, ISO-250
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Orchids of Missouri – Green Adder’s Mouth (Malaxis unifolia)

Green Adder’s Mouth Orchid, 234 mm focal length equivalent, f/16, 1/60 sec., ISO-640
Green Adder’s Mouth Orchid, 234 mm focal length equivalent, f/16, 1/60 sec., ISO-640
Green Adder’s Mouth Orchid, 20 mm focal length equivalent, f/8, 1/80 sec., ISO-640
Green Adder’s Mouth Orchid, 403 mm focal length equivalent, f/16, 1/80 sec., ISO-640
Green Adder’s Mouth Orchid, 403 mm focal length equivalent, f/18, 1/80 sec., ISO-640

Eastern Collared Lizard

Eastern Collared Lizard – female. 520 mm focal length equivalent, f/11, 1/160 sec. ISO-200

These photos were taken on a WGNSS Nature Photography Group field trip into the St. Francois Mountains in early June, 2019.

Eastern Collared Lizard – female. 520 mm focal length equivalent, f/8, 1/200 sec. ISO-160

Along with a couple of female eastern collared lizards, we found quite a few other herps of interest.

Eastern Collared Lizard – female. 406 mm focal length equivalent, f/6.3, 1/320 sec. ISO-200

These lizards are really great photographic subjects. They are relatively easy to photograph, allowing for watching while they bask in the sunlight of a clear day without much manipulation or interference necessary.

Having some success with SEOW

Short-eared Owl

Miguel and I have been trying to get some better in-flight shots of the Short-eared Owls that use the wet prairies at BK Leach CA for their winter homes. Tonight, preparations and fortune came together and we wound up with a few that we can be satisfied with. The lighting wasn’t great, as the nice sunlight was blocked by heavier and heavier clouds as soon as the action began, but sometimes you take what you can get.

Short-eared Owl

 

Short-eared Owl

 

Short-eared Owl

-OZB

WGNSS Nature Photography Group Visits Loess Bluff NWR – November 2018

Snow drops

Seven of us made the long drive to our destination on the morning of the 23rd . The week of
Thanksgiving can be an excellent choice for visiting Loess Bluff NWR, but always depends on the
weather. We were a bit concerned with the early cold snap our region experienced this autumn.
However, in the week or so preceding the trip, the weather warmed so we were not hampered by ice
that can completely cover the shallow waters of the wetlands. Having open water affords very close
views of our photographic subjects and the primary reason we drove such a distance – the blizzard.

The blizzard

Typically, one million to two million Snow Geese will make this location a stop over during spring
and autumn migration and numbers of over 500,000 birds on a single count are not uncommon.
During our visit, the official counts were slightly over 100,000 birds, but the feeling with the group
was that this was grossly underestimated.

Rising snow

If conditions allow, getting the moon behind the Snow Geese can make a nice composition.

Rising snow against setting moon

 

Lunar Liberty

On our first day of the trip we were faced with mostly cloudy weather. As I told the group, this provides an opportunity to more easily try panning motion shots like the one pictured below. This is not my most successful attempt at such an image, but I wanted to share it here to demonstrate the multitude of opportunities for a diversity of photos to be made.

Panning with the action

Snow Geese are not the only subjects that make this trip worthwhile. The refuge also provides
important habitat for birds such as Bald Eagles, sparrows, a variety of ducks and wading birds, as
well as mammals like white-tailed deer and muskrats. On our initial entry to the park, Dave and Bill
found a Merlin on a relatively good perch above the road. We spent some time photographing the
bird, but regretted that the rest off our party were on the other side of the refuge and would not
likely be able to get the looks we did. Fortunately, a Merlin – likely the same bird, was spotted on
our second day and was viewable by all.

Merlin

With subjects in the hundreds of thousands to the millions, making a purposeful image can be challenging. It is quite natural to want to shoot at everything that moves, but try and focus. Finding smaller action scenes is one way the photographer can focus on the individuals and their stories that make up the grander scheme.

Goosing a goose

Although we experienced skies with periods of heavy overcast, we were presented with fantastic
sunsets on both days. Being able to make the birds part of the story made these images all the more special.

Sun setting on snowy waters

 

A beautiful end

The WGNSS Photo Group is committed to an overnight trip to this and similar locations within the Midwest on Thanksgiving week. If you’d like to join us next year, please let me know!

-OZB

A Backyard First!

Red-breasted Nuthatch

I’m so glad I spent some time at home this afternoon. This gave me the opportunity to find the first Red-breasted Nuthatch that I have found visiting our backyard feeders. I so wanted to some how tell this little one that I would have seed available all winter long as it consistently went back and forth from the big oak to the feeder, each time carrying a sunflower seed to hide in the bark. I am pretty certain that this bird visited the feeder more than 50 times in the couple hours I watched.

Red-breasted Nuthatch