Took a Turn at some Greb's

Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
6,107
Location
Mars
Last year I got out to the local ponds/lakes a bit late to catch the Grebe's swimming around with young on their back. Did get some great shots of them feeding their young, which were swimming by the time I got out to photograph them. So this year I have been keeping an eye on the local ponds but it's hard to really tell what is going on with the nest from the shoreline. Last night I headed out to Westchester Lagoon with my pack raft so I could get an idea of the current situation.

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PackRaft 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

I love my pack raft but damn, shooting from it is not easy. By design they are super maneuverable and tend to spin when you stop paddling, especially if there is any wind or just from you twisting around to photograph something. My plan was to find a Grebe on a nest and setup for a drift that would bring me close enough to get some photographs but not disturb the bird. Doing a drift by a subject is so much easier in a kayak vs the pack raft, had a few times where I spun around and couldn't get a photograph so had to reset and try again. The advantage to the pack raft is that it's so small and light that I can pack it in anywhere, which is going to be pretty helpful for alpine lakes or hitting some remote rivers.

I was able to float by about a dozen or so nest and it seems like all of them are still sitting on eggs, so I have a little time but it won't be long. It is so crazy that they build floating nest to lay their eggs.

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Grebe 004 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Grebe 005 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

The next two are the same bird.

51282399890_704f84e511_o.jpg
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Grebe 006 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

51281375356_5b6166d382_o.jpg
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Grebe 007 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

As I was heading in I noticed this baby Tern sitting on the bank and its parents coming by and feeding it. Was able to capture one sequence of the feeding before they stopped.

51282106619_750b802693_o.jpg
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Feeding Turn 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Feeding Turn 002 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

51281553338_c858571326_o.jpg
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Feeding Turn 003 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

After getting back on land I walked down to capture a few more photographs of the baby Tern.

51282107479_7a244e1960_o.jpg
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Baby Tern 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Baby Tern 002 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

As well as closeup photograph of one of the parents.

51282106839_65bac59670_o.jpg
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Baby Tern 003 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

For all of the photographs I used CAF with the bird tracking AI. I like the tracking because I don't really have to mess around with moving the focus point to get well composed photographs. I feel like I had a lot of soft photographs but not sure if it is a result of the bird AI not being that good or from the pack raft moving around so much. Need to go out and shoot in a bit more controlled settings to really evaluate how well the bird AI works. Either way it really is amazing that I got any sharp images from shooting out of the raft. I also know that there is no way I would have gotten any sharp images shooting a full frame camera with a 600/4, would just be too difficult with a setup that large and without the amazing IBIS from Olympus.

Phocal
 
Joined
May 12, 2019
Messages
1,549
Last year I got out to the local ponds/lakes a bit late to catch the Grebe's swimming around with young on their back. Did get some great shots of them feeding their young, which were swimming by the time I got out to photograph them. So this year I have been keeping an eye on the local ponds but it's hard to really tell what is going on with the nest from the shoreline. Last night I headed out to Westchester Lagoon with my pack raft so I could get an idea of the current situation.

View attachment 896035 PackRaft 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

I love my pack raft but damn, shooting from it is not easy. By design they are super maneuverable and tend to spin when you stop paddling, especially if there is any wind or just from you twisting around to photograph something. My plan was to find a Grebe on a nest and setup for a drift that would bring me close enough to get some photographs but not disturb the bird. Doing a drift by a subject is so much easier in a kayak vs the pack raft, had a few times where I spun around and couldn't get a photograph so had to reset and try again. The advantage to the pack raft is that it's so small and light that I can pack it in anywhere, which is going to be pretty helpful for alpine lakes or hitting some remote rivers.

I was able to float by about a dozen or so nest and it seems like all of them are still sitting on eggs, so I have a little time but it won't be long. It is so crazy that they build floating nest to lay their eggs.

View attachment 896036 Grebe 004 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

View attachment 896037 Grebe 005 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

The next two are the same bird.

View attachment 896038 Grebe 006 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

View attachment 896039 Grebe 007 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

As I was heading in I noticed this baby Tern sitting on the bank and its parents coming by and feeding it. Was able to capture one sequence of the feeding before they stopped.

View attachment 896040 Feeding Turn 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

View attachment 896041 Feeding Turn 002 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

View attachment 896042 Feeding Turn 003 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

After getting back on land I walked down to capture a few more photographs of the baby Tern.

View attachment 896043 Baby Tern 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

View attachment 896044 Baby Tern 002 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

As well as closeup photograph of one of the parents.

View attachment 896045 Baby Tern 003 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

For all of the photographs I used CAF with the bird tracking AI. I like the tracking because I don't really have to mess around with moving the focus point to get well composed photographs. I feel like I had a lot of soft photographs but not sure if it is a result of the bird AI not being that good or from the pack raft moving around so much. Need to go out and shoot in a bit more controlled settings to really evaluate how well the bird AI works. Either way it really is amazing that I got any sharp images from shooting out of the raft. I also know that there is no way I would have gotten any sharp images shooting a full frame camera with a 600/4, would just be too difficult with a setup that large and without the amazing IBIS from Olympus.

Phocal
That looks like a great experience on the raft, which is a terrific way to get nearly eye level with birds. the photos are excellent, though to my eye they seem over-saturated. How do you process them?
 

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