Introducing “Royal Terns”

A couple of days after an art festival in Cedar Key two-and-a-half years ago, Nancy took this photograph from the bow of our new canoe on the north end of Seahorse Key before making the return trip to Cedar Key. Although the weather had been good all day, that trip did not finish well. You can read about that on our “new” webpage for the image (that webpage is now six months old).

A flock of royal terns landing

Earlier on that canoe trip. we took Gigapan images of downtown Cedar Key from Atsena Otie Key before moving on to Seahorse Key to get a Gigapan of the lighthouse. I upgraded our computerspecs this summer to make our Gigapan work faster, and hope to get to those images next month. Stay tuned.

“Oak Tree Graveyard” – Our First Night Photograph

Last updated on December 2nd, 2019 at 09:31 pm

When we discovered Big Talbot Island State Parkwebsite north of Jacksonville one morning toward the end of April, 2010, Nancy saw Boneyard Beach and decided we needed to come back late in the afternoon for further investigation.  The elevation for most of the tree-clad island is about twenty feet.  Atlantic storms over the millennia have eroded the bluff to the beach and continue to knock trees down to the beach.  We returned while it was still light, worked our way down to the beach and took “Trees In Their Twilight” just a few minutes after sunset.  The camera was on a tripod for the 0.8-second exposure.

Since we expected a near-full moon to rise within the hour, we stayed around and took “Oak Tree Graveyard” less than an hour later, one third of the way through nautical twilightdefinition.  It was so dark we needed a flashlight to change the settings on the camera.  That picture took a 65-second exposure (about 8,000 times as long as your average selfie), which gave the sensor a chance to pick up light you didn’t even know was there.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
This is the one area that the sensor is better than your eye. As I mention in Limitations You Should Know About Your Digital Camera (Or Phone)!, your brain doesn’t benefit from staring at something longer than 15 secondssource.


During that 65 seconds, I took our little LED flashlight (so as not to overpower the almost non-existent ambient light) and shined the light back and forth over those nearest three trees in the foreground.  I recall “painting with light” like this the whole 65 seconds, but Nancy distinctly remembers stopping after fifteen seconds 😕.  If you sweep slowly to cover the target in one pass, you might miss a spot. Or if you linger too long in one area, you will create a “hot” spot.  I recommend sweeping faster and making as many passes as you can to take advantage of the averaging effect.

What amazed me when the image finally appeared on the back of the camera after the shutter closed, was that the orange glow was still there. We’ve since gained more experience with night photography (for example, see Nautical Twilight In The Glades, Seven-mile Bridge At Twilight, Midnight In The Pinelands). Now we know that there are enough photonsdefined bouncing around at even the darkest hour so that if you left your shutter open long enough you could make it look like a bright overcast day (there would be nothing casting a shadow). At midnight, the light level could be about 1/160th that of “Oak Tree Graveyard”, meaning you would have to increase the exposure time, aperture, and/or ISO to gain over seven f-stops to get its sky to that same level of brightness. But the horizon would be blue again by then because the orange glow only lasts an hour or two, depending on atmospheric conditions.

Epilogue

After getting “Oak Tree Graveyard”, we headed back up the bluff and back along the trail to the van. In an open area in the woods along the way, we saw an unbelievable firefly display as we have never seen before (or since), but were too tired to stop for pictures. Nancy has been kicking herself about that decision ever since.

Gray Wolves – The Image

Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 09:19 pm

Last month, I promised to introduce you to a few of our newer images that had been overlookedblog. Today’s image is “Gray Wolves”, which was added to our collection at the very end of last December. We photographed these wolves in June 2006 in Golden, British Columbia. You can find more information on our Gray Wolves image webpage.

Gray Wolves

A Belated Introduction To “Wild Stallion”

Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 09:20 pm

Earlier this month, I promised to introduce you to a few of our newer images that had been overlookedblog. The oldest of those is “Wild Stallion”, which was added to our regular collection in January, 2017, just in time for a festival in Wellington.  Wellington is known for its polo and its equestrian community.

Three Florida Cracker horses in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopi, Florida

But this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this image in our blog. The photograph was taken eight Januarys earlier at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Gainesville. And in 2017 I chose it to demonstrate how to use vanishing points to adjust the size as you moved an object around in your image (see Use Vanishing Point To Resize Animals You Move Around In Post-Processing). Nancy liked the results and decided to add it to our collection.

You can learn more about this image on its webpage (Wild Stallion).

We Have Three New Gorilla Pictures

Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 09:21 pm

Some of you may have noticed that I just recently added a picture of Nancy and a few mountain gorillas to an earlier blog post (We just got back from a two-week trip to Africa), and then added a picture of the two of us with our porters to a related article (A Case Of Over-planning On Our Africa Trip?), and we are even having a caption contest right nowlink for a picture of me near a silverback mountain gorilla. So you may have guessed that I finally just began processing the images from that trip. Now I’d like to announce that we have added three new images to our regular collection.

Mother Mountain Gorilla and Baby
Mountain Gorilla Mother and Baby

The three images are Mountain Gorilla Mother and Baby (shown above), Mountain Gorilla Family, and Silverback. Each image has its own webpage, of course, and the description in each highlights a different aspect of gorilla life. If you would like to own Print #1 of any of these images, you may want to contact us soon.

Although it has been almost sixteen months since we’ve announced a new imageprevious, I see there have been a few I forgot to mention. I’ll try to introduce them as soon as possible.

P.S: It is not too late to enter a caption for our current contest.

Our Second Biannual Caption Contest

OK, so it’s actually been almost 27 months since our first caption contestprevious. The photograph this time is not part of our regular collection, nor will it ever be, most likely. Nancy took this picture on our trip with Natural Habitat Adventures to Uganda and Rwanda in 2015 to photograph mountain gorillasdetails. As you can see, we found some. We are just starting to process those pictures now.

Bruce and silverback
Your caption could be here

This shot was taken at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. We were told that we weren’t supposed to get within seven meters (23 feet) of a gorilla on this hike. I’m as far off the trail (which goes off to your left) as I can get, unlike the other three gentlemen, and I’m wishing I had a wider lens. The other three managed to get out of the silverback’s way just after this photo was taken, and we all lived happily ever after.

The winner of this contest will get ten dollars off any print or service of Bee Happy Graphics. Here’s how the contest will work:

  • For at least the next three weeks, you can enter your caption idea into the comments of this article below.
  • I will announce the close of the competition and the beginning of the voting process in another comment to this blog post. I may have a plug-in for that by then and will explain the voting process in that same comment.
  • At least two weeks after that last announcement a winner will be announced. If any entry has three or more votes, the one with the most votes will be the winner. If no entry has that many votes, then I will take an informal survey among my closest family and friends, and pick the winner. The decision of the judges (as defined above) is final. This prize may be combined with other promotions.

Good luck, and let the contest begin!

Nancy Wins Award In F.W.F. Photo Contest

Last updated on October 4th, 2019 at 06:34 am

The Florida Wildlife Federation (F.W.F.)about just announced the ten winners of its annual photography contestlink. Nancy had entered seven images covering seven of the eight categories for which her images were eligible and wound up winning the Flowers category with her image “Ghost Orchid”.

Ghost Orchid
Winner of Flowers Category

We were hoping Nancy’s favorite image, “Osprey Family”, would win an award but the judges obviously preferred the yawning grebe. Oh, well. We are still thrilled with our results.