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Mark Casebeer
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Mark Casebeer PHOTOGRAPHY

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Sunny Morning Birding

I picked up Dave at 6:30 am. and drove to the Big Tree area. We arrived a little late and missed the blue hour, arriving just before sunrise. It still offered some beautiful colors as we watched the sun peek up over the horizon.

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American White Pelican
Fujifilm X-T4 200mm F2 + 1.4x /2000sec at F2.8 ISO/500

As soon as it started to get lighter, the American White Pelicans began to fly along the coastline. We watched and photographed the Pelicans for about an hour. It would have been better with a few clouds to provide a little contrast in the sky.

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Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Fujifilm X-T3 Sigma 150-600 /2500sec at F6.3 ISO/1250

Dave just purchased a Sony RX 10IV; it's a bridge camera with a 24-600mm range. It's the perfect camera for someone just starting in photography and wanting to do some birding photography.

As we walked along the coastline, we could hear some Whopping cranes off in the distance. We got back in the Jeep and drove to where I thought the Whooper's might be. We passed a small pond with a flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. They looked beautiful in the morning light.

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Whooping Crane
Fujifilm X-T3 Sigma 150-600 /250sec at F6.3 ISO1250

At the pond, we could see the two Whooping Cranes in the distance. They were in a field where I see them often. There's a feeder that attracts Sandhills and other birds. We watched from a distance as they picked up some food by the feeder.

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Blue Heron
Fujifilm X-T4 200mm F2 + 1.4x /4000sec at F4.0 ISO400

We decided to stop at Bent Oaks Rookery on our way back to the park. The Blue Herons are starting their annual nesting at the protected park.

It would also give Dave a chance to use his new camera photographing birds in flight. BIF are one of the most challenging types of photography. Herons are large and glide through the air reasonably slow, making it perfect for Dave to get some practice.

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Blue Heron
Fujifilm X-T4 200mm F2 + 1.4x /4000sec at F5.6 ISO640

We watched as the males brought sticks from under the Oaks and flew them to the nesting area to impress the females. Once they have found a mate, the females build the nest from the sticks their mate brings.

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Blue Heron
Fujifilm X-T4 200mm F2 + 1.4x /4000sec at F4.0 ISO/500

The full sun was harsh, which caused some shadows under the bird's wings. Every once in a while, one would fly into the sun, which eased the shadows.

Dave sounded like he had fun. Learning a new camera and shooting BIF can be challenging. I look forward to helping and seeing him on his photography journey.

Photography should be fun! It's not about the phone or camera brand you're using. Remember, your best photographs result from one thing, making an effort to get out and shoot.

Comments are always welcomed.

Mark

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