Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pic of the Day

 Blackpoll Warbler, Setophaga striata (Male):  Magee Marsh, Ohio 

 Blackpoll Warbler, Setophaga striata (Female):  Magee Marsh, Ohio 

         Warblers are one of my favorite species of birds to photograph, and I have just spent two weeks in one of my favorite places photographing these spring beauties.     During the month of May and untold number of warblers and other neotropical migrants pass through Magee Marsh on the south side of Lake Erie in the state of Ohio.
         Blackpoll warblers were a plentiful species this year. Along with Cape May and Tennessee Warblers all seem to have had an exceptional 2017 breeding season due to the spruce budworm outbreak last year.  In more than a decade of traveling to Magee Marsh, I have never seen so many Blackpolls at Magee.
         The Blackpoll Warbler is a champion long distance migrant.  Wintering in northern South America it travels north through the eastern United States to it reach its nesting grounds in the northern boreal forest that stretches from Newfoundland to western Alaska. 
         On its return trip in the fall most Blackpolls migrate east across the northern latitudes to the east coast and then turn south crossing the western Atlantic to South America in a non stop 3 to 4 day trip.  Blackpolls make the longest migration of all the warblers, some traveling as much as 16,000 miles round trip.   Nature is truly amazing!

Top photo:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f 4,  exposure 1/125 second @ f 8.

Bottom Photo: Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f 4,  exposure 1/200 second @ f 8.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Pic of the Day

American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus: 
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida
     I have seen many American Bitterns over my birding career, but seldom have I seen them out in the open like this bird I found along the Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.   Most bitterns I see are hidden or partially hidden within the reed beds.
       This image was taken just after sunrise, just as sunlight began to ripple over a water impoundment berm of the refuge drive.  As the slight glow of light on the bittern began to intensify it quickly turned and walked back into the mangroves to escape the brunt of the morning light.
       A beautiful bird, the American Bittern is created to blend into its natural environment.  It striations of white, cream, cinnamon, and browns make this species the king of camouflage.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4,  Exposure 1/80th second @ f/5.6

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pic of the Day

Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentals (male):  Causeway to Sanibel Island, Florida
      On a recent jaunt to Florida I stopped along the second island of the Sanibel Island causeway to photograph brown pelicans diving into the water.  There were more than a dozen pelicans fishing in perfect light.  This fellow, with is 6 1/2 feet wingspan has just made the turn in its stoop to dive.  I happened to capture the pelican with wings extended and head in perfect profile.  What a beautiful, symmetrical pose. 

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2500 second @ f/7.1 on tripod

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pic of the Day

Forster's Tern, Stema Forsteri:  Fort Desoto State Park, Florida

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/5000 second @ f/9

Friday, January 19, 2018

White Ibis, Eudocimus albus
Black Point Wildlife Drive, Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida

     On December 21st of 2017 I was making my last round through Merritt Island NWR when I came across a feeding frenzy of egrets, herons, pelicans, spoonbills, Ibises and much more.  It was quite an incredible event, and I feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon the scene in such good light.
     Birds that were not feeding were soaring in all different direction.  It was difficult to find just one bird out of the mass to lock onto, but I happened to capture this White Ibis as it was gliding in for a landing with a few hundred other feeding birds in the refuge marshes. 

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2500 @ f/8

Friday, January 12, 2018

Pic of the Day

Spoonbill in Pastels
Roseate Spoonbill, Platalea ajaja:  Black Point Wildlife Drive, 
Merritt Island NWR near Titusville, Florida
     This photo was taken on a very cool morning right before sunrise.  The clouds in the western sky were glowing pink from the light of the rising sun.  Their reflection in the water provided a perfect match for the tones of the spoonbills feathers.  The pastel colors certainly give the image a light and soft feel.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/200 second @ f/7.1

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pic of the Day

Wood Stork, Mycteria americana:
Black Point Wildlife Drive; Merritt Island NWR

      A Wood Stock on a beautifully clear morning at Merritt Island NWR's Black Point Wildlife Drive stirring in the shallows for a fish.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/2000 second @ f/8

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pic of the Day

Wilson's Warbler, Cardellina pusillanimous:  Magee Marsh, Ohio

    As the days shorten I look forward to the arrival of winter bird, but can't keep the warblers out of mind. I so look forward to their return in the spring.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4; Exposure 1/60 second @ f/8

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Pic of the Day

August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse:  Hopkinsville Kentucky
15 different photos arranged to show the progression of the eclipse. The eclipse begins on the right side of the image and progresses to the left through totality and the waning partial phases.
     On August 21, 2017 my family and I were on site in Hopkinsville, Kentucky for the total solar eclipse.  This was the second total eclipse for my wife and I, and the first for my children and grandchildren.  I was fortunate to have contacted the Northwest Baptist Church a few months before the eclipse and got permission to park on their property to set up camera equipment.  The church property sets on a incline that gave a good 360ยบ view.  It was without a doubt the best place near Hopkinsville to see the eclipse.
     I have been preparing for this eclipse most of my life.  As a young fellow I had a passion for astronomy.  I remember when I was fifteen years old and looking through a astronomy book from my high school library.  The book had a chapter on the mechanics of solar eclipses, and a chart of solar eclipses that would occur between 1950 and 2050.  At the top of the chart was a map of the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.

Baily's Beads, August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse: Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 the last hint of the photosphere as totality begins.  This phenomenon is named in honor Francis Baily who theorized that the beads seen at the beginning of a total solar eclipse was sunlight shinning through mountains on the moon, which indeed does create Baily's Beads. 

     I remember being so excited.  The path of the future total eclipse would pass only one-hundred miles north of where I lived at the time.  My mind when into overdrive.  I immediately started thinking, "I can see that one, its close to home."  I then realized that I would be sixty-two years old in 2017 and immediately thought, "I hope I live that long."  Well, as you can imagine my thoughts on age as changed drastically since that day, and yes, I did live to see the eclipse own August 21.

Inner Solar Corona:  Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Notice the solar flares at 2:00, 3:00 and 5:00 position.  Solar flares are plasma 
being ejected from the photosphere.

     No words can express the beauty and excitement of an event like a total solar eclipse, and no photograph can capture the extent of tonal ranges of the solar corona.  It is something that must be experienced in person and seen with ones on eyes.

August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse,  Solar Corona:  Hopkinsville, Kentucky
The solar corona extends two to three times the diameter of the photosphere.  This image does not show the entire corona.  The latitude of the camera sensor cannot maintain a proper exposure from the inner corona to the out corona. 

     The photos here simply, do not even come close to what the eye can see in an eclipse.  The human eye can see a far greater range of values than a camera.  Some of the images here are single images, others are multiple images put together to give the viewer a more comprehensive view of what I saw with the naked eye. I can not stress enough, how captivating, and thrilling a total eclipse experience can be.  The next total solar eclipse in North America will occur on April 8th, 2024.  I am planning to there, and I hope you will do the same.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Current Events

Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Campephilus Principalis
John James Audubon, Birds of America
(This is my favorite Audubon print, I hope it will be in the show!)

     For my friends here in North Alabama and surrounding states.  I thought you might like to know that……

John James Audubon comes to the Huntsville Museum of Art!  Well, not Audubon himself, but a treasure trove of Audubon Aquatints from the Kathy & Michael Mouron Collection.

24 aquatints from Audubon’s most famous work, The Birds of America will be on display from Sunday, July 23rd until November 19th, 2017.

The Museum will be hosting a preview party on the evening of July 22nd, an event I do not want to miss.  Follow this link to purchase tickets to the preview party.  I hope to see many of you there, if not at the preview party, make sure you get to the museum before the show moves on. 

If you have problems with the link above, here is the actually address:

HMA Press Release:

Museum to present John James Audubon’s Birds of America from the private collection of Kathy and Michael Mouron
CONTACT Samantha Nielsen Director of Communications 256.535.4350 ext. 219
Huntsville, Ala. – The Huntsville Museum of Art (HMA) is thrilled to announce the opening of the much sought after exhibition, Birds of America: Audubon Aquatints from the Kathy & Michael Mouron Collection, on Sunday, July 23rd. Birds of America will be on view at the Museum for general admission until November 19, 2017.
Birds of America presents 24 of the 435 prints comprising the best known works of 19th century American naturalist, John James Audubon (1785-1851). The works on view in the exhibition at HMA are from the private collection of Kathy and Michael Mouron of Birmingham, Alabama and are being shown publically in this region for the first time.
“John James Audubon’s life-sized watercolors of North American birds is widely considered to be among the highest quality of wildlife illustrations,” said Christopher Madkour, Executive Director of HMA. “We are thrilled to be hosting this exhibition at the Museum and are grateful to the Mourons for sharing their extraordinary collection of Audubon paintings with us.”
To observe his subjects firsthand, Audubon traveled through much of the North American continent and recorded the appearance of birds in a variety of media. His intricately detailed illustrations are rich in observation and include song birds, waterfowl and birds of prey which are represented as life-sized and in their natural habitats.
The Mourons were drawn to Audubon’s Birds of America collection after first seeing a few pieces soon after graduating from the University of Alabama. Forty years later, Michael and Kathy spotted a piece from the collection through the open doors of Arader Galleries in Philadelphia and quickly became friends with the gallery owner, Mr. Graham Arader. After purchasing the “Wood Duck” aquatint in May 2013, the Mourons, with help from Mr. Arader, have now added thirty-three other pieces to their own private Audubon collection.
“With Graham’s careful guidance and counsel, I believe we have been able to secure some absolutely fabulous pieces, rich in color and with full margins and some with most interesting provenance,” said Michael Mouron. “Kathy and I are excited to share our collection with the Huntsville community and look forward to seeing Birds of America on display at the Huntsville Museum of Art.”
Huntsville Museum of Art | 300 Church Street South | Huntsville, Alabama 35801 |
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Seven of the aquatints in the Mouron’s collection are currently on loan to the University of Tennessee in honor of Michael’s father; however, most of the other pieces will be included in the exhibition at HMA.
On Saturday, July 22nd from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the Museum Board of Directors and Mayor and Mrs. Tommy Battle will host a Preview Party to celebrate the opening of this exhibition. Guests will be able to view the collection before it opens to the public, while enjoying a reception catered by Chef Narvell and listening to live music by a string trio from the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra.
Admission to the Preview Party is $25 for Museum members and $45 for non-members. Tickets are on-sale now and may be purchased online at or by calling 256-535- 4350 ext. 208.
For more information about the Birds of America exhibit and to see what else is happening at the Museum, visit