This will be my 10th year to photograph (beginning late January) the myriad of Bald Eagles

concentrating at Farmington Bay!

 

Personal Web Site

Updated: JANUARY 27, 2015


Links to other pages...

 

 

 

 

This site reflects my current passion for photographing birds.

I have been photographing for over 50 years; and am now retired from a satisfying profession beginning in Biochemistry, and ending in Biomedical Photography.

Below are links to my most recent nature photography. Hopefully you will find as much enjoyment in viewing it as I do in creating it.

 

Please Note: the photos on this page are changed frequently. Older posts are found by clicking the rectangular "buttons" on the left side of this text.

The most recent posts can be seen by clicking on the Button, "Past".

 

Questions-Comments about this website?

email:rby@isp.com

 

 

From Another Life...

Aside from Biomedical and Bird Photography,

I was a biochemist, Research Faculty at the University of Utah,

College of Medicine, during which time I authored papers on:

The Basic Mechanisms of Action of Adrenal and Gonadal Steroids.

For any interested, click (HERE) for links to a few of my publications that are available online.

 


 

January 27, 2015

Below are more of my current attempts to improve "low light" photography.

January days often have low clouds (Stratus) blanketing an already dim sun (due to winter distance and angle).

 

Black-billed Magpie full-frame image:

 

 

 

Cropped image:

(example of "Low-Light/Low-Key" photography)

 

 

 

Example of Low-Light/High-Key photography:

 

 

 

Now I shift to waterfowl currently at

Willow Pond: Murray/Jordan River Parkway, UT., beginning with: Northern Shoveler pair.

 

 

 

The female decided to stretch.

 

 

 

Speaking of birds stretching, see the male Red-head Duck (with mate) below as he does some gyrations also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low light levels, requiring high ISO light sensitivity settings!

 

 

 

 

 

Same day, a flotilla of Ruddy Ducks, with some exhibiting plumage transition to 'Breeding Males', especially the male to the right.

 

 

Closeup of male...

 

 

 

Extreme closeup of male on a dark January day!

 

 

 

For some of you who aren't familiar with this male duck, this is how a male Ruddy Duck will look in its "breeding plumage" on a sunny day in April!

 

 

 

Another flotilla, this time with "Pied-Billed Grebes" at Willow Pond

 

 

 

Moving away from Willow Pond, I meandered over to the river (Jordan) as the afternoon light continued to diminish in intensity.

On the way I encountered an American Kestrel with his prey...

 

 

 

Along the river, the low light level forced me to set my camera to ISO 4000, which still provided satisfactory results!

 

 

 

Here I discovered a male Cinnamon Teal keeping company with a male Mallard.

 

 

 

Note, the Cinnamon Teal, while walking, apparently has no shadow due to low light levels!

 

 

This airborne Shoveler image was captured at 1/1250 sec./f11,

ISO setting of 4000!

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Shoveler pair, cruising the river.

 

 

They position themselves to forage as "Dabbling Ducks" do!

 

 

 

By submerging (tipping forward) to reach aquatic plants in the shallow water!

 

 

 

Here are 2 Shovelers, one on the left is a "First Spring Male Shoveler"; and the other is an adult female.

 

 

Here we see (foreground) a 1st Spring Male Common Goldeneye with a pair of Northern Shovelers in the background.

 

 

 

I wish to stress that all these images were successfully captured under the most extreme low light conditions prevailing!

Female Common Goldeneye (L) 1st Spring Male Common Goldeneye (R).

 

 

 

2 Adult male Common Goldeneyes for comparison

 

 

 

Gadwall Ducks (Female-L) (Male-R) are well represented on the Jordan River at this time of year.

 

 

 

A classic male Gadwall cruising...

 

 

 

A 2nd male Gadwall vocalizing at the male (L), in the midst of females.

 

 

Gadwalls on land.

 

 

 

Here is a favorite of mine, a small duck, the showy

male Green-Wing Teal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, finally, as the late afternoon light extinguished, a cluster of Northern Shovelers bid adieu...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 22, 2015

Birding has been a bit difficult since our days have been admixed with SUNSHINE...and clouds...

(Sunshine and Merlin, Big Cottonwood, 1-18-15)

 

 

 

To REALLY, REALLY DARK DAYS!

(American Crows-Big Cottonwood Park)

 

 

 

(On such dark days, the light level is so low that one can only see shadows when an object is moving!)

During such days, I've been honing my skills, using an obsolete Nikon 80-400 telephoto lens (15 years old!, the first Nikon lens with image stabilization called, "VR").

I'm working to develop a more successful method for bird images in such dismal light. An example is seen below

(Cedar Waxwing in the rain).

 

 

 

2 steps here:

1. lighten up the image and...

 

 

 

2. remove distracting twigs...

 

Another example: My first Bohemian Waxwing, (Big Cottonwood Park, Dec. 2012) on a dark, stormy day. The bird was in flight with an olive in its mouth, and was obscured by twigs!

 

 

I'm skilled in using Adobe Photoshop which helped me create a once-in-a-lifetime image from the original!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 16, 2015

Hurray, the sun was shining yesterday,albeit hazy conditions prevailed.

I decided to check out Big Cottonwood Park to see whether the Harlan's Redtail hawk was still visiting there.

I was not disappointed!

 

 

The bird persevered all the weeks of noise and tree destruction.

 

 

 

And yesterday, at the park, I experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph a flyby OSPREY (V-22)...

AS SEEN BELOW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

AWESOME!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This morning, as our weekend storm proceeds eastward, it leaves us with clear blue skies (and, at the highest pinnacles of our Rocky Mountains, a fierce wind!)

I'll be leaving shortly to enjoy a walk with my camera hoping to see a few birds (they've been few and far between where I've been!)

Wish me luck!

 

 

WOW! I didn't get out the door before the valley experienced a major environmental change, seen in this mountain image below!

The noontime Weatherman said we're in a healthy (thus far) temperature inversion, due to low-lying Stratus clouds (think coastal Marine Layer!) being trapped by warm, sunny conditions above the clouds!

SMOG will be the final outcome as the days progress!

I'll try for another day later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 8, 2015

 

Addendum Concerning Repeat Appearance of Hybrid Male

Mallard X Pintail On South Jordan portion of Jordan River!

(I will continue my ongoing posts regarding Bald Eagles, but these incidents are exciting to me!)

 

On January 13, 2014 I discovered a rare Male Mallard X Pintail hybrid as seen below, on the Jordan River, near Sandy Pond:

Details and extensive images I collected at that time can be seen (HERE)

 

 

 

Yesterday (Jan. 6, 2015), Bryant Olsen posted images of (presumably) the same bird, located at the approximately same location!

See Bryant's current images (HERE)

 

To me, it's remarkable that the bird would come back to the same area 1 year later!

 

 

 

January Bald Eagle Series... (now complete 1-11-15)

The time for Bald Eagles to concentrate amidst the "Wetlands", such as Farmington Bay WMA, is upon us.

For 10 years, I've celebrated the earliest indication of Spring, as Eagles (plus Tundra Swans and Snow Geese) make their appearance, usually in signficant numbers peaking in early February!

 

Utah's "Bald Eagle Day" is tentatively set for Saturday, Feb. 14 this year. Information will be announced later by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

 

My first years of photographing eagles were rewarded by having eagles fly overhead, usually against a clear, blue sky!

 

 

 

It was relatively easy to capture various airborne birds' images in this manner...

 

 

Occasionally, a stray juvenile would appear...

 

 

The birds were seriously looking for food, hence their head would often angle downward...

 

 

 

 

 

(Same bird as above, only now directly above me.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

After posting a sizeable number of such images, a friend responded and politely suggested that I look for something other than blue sky for a background!

 

 

That was relatively easy to do... just wait for a cloudy day!

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the bird would cast its own shadow, shading its body.

 

 

 

I realized my friend had a cogent point with his criticism, and I began to look even further for variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next time, I'll post other examples that serve to 'break up' the monotony of such birds in flight.

 

 

 

(Jan. 5)

And here is a series to do just that... For variety, I 'focused' on low-flying birds, with water as my background.

This particular bird was looking for a meal!

 

 

 

Notice the out-of-focus perched eagle in the background here.

 

 

This series only took seconds to complete!

 

 

Fish on the RADAR!...

 

 

 

 

 

Success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun stuff to photograph!!!!

 

 

Final image...

 

 

 

The birds would sweep in from any angle to snag a fish, such as the 2 below...

 

 

 

 

 

More examples illustrating variety are being posted below...

 

(Jan 6)

Another form of variety exhibited by Bald Eagles at Farmington Bay WMA is seen below, when a 2nd bird in flight sneaked up from behind...

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently no harm was done...

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Jan. 7)

Group Behavior...

The Bald Eagles at Farmington Bay occasionally fly in groups

 

 

 

Here there were numerous birds, some of which are out of the frame!

 

 

Perching also occasionally is done in groups (17 Eagles here!)

 

 

Access to these birds was limited, Backlighting was the only option.

 

 

On an overcast day, some detail was present.

 

 

Frontlit...

 

 

 

Here we see a perch that was present for a number of years.

 

 

 

Finding birds alone was sometimes difficult...

 

 

With this one being a favorite for me.

 

 

(Jan 11)

Of course, the birds also rest upon the ice/mud adjacent to the bay...

 

 

 

An adult, followed by a juvenile

 

 

 

A closeup of an adult on ice.

 

 

A gang of birds arrive...

 

 

But one of most picturesque areas when the birds cooperate is here, west of the dike where the airboats launch.

 

 

Sometimes the area gets somewhat crowded.

 

 

 

Closeup of a group...

 

 

With one leaving...