Monthly Archives: January 2014

Building a Nest

140130_Nesting Herons by Karl G. Graf.

Canon 7D, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS with 1.4x Extender @ 280mm, f/9.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400

Sometimes you are just lucky.  We were driving around a wetlands reserve and saw this group of photographers and birders watching a nesting heron on top of a palm.  Soon the male came up bringing up branches to build a nest.  The male made several trips back and forth to bring up more branches for the nest.  Soon several other females flew to nests on other palms.  At one time there were five herons nesting.  We spent at least two hours just watching this beautiful and amazing sight.


Roseate Spoonbill

140129_Roseate Spoonbill by Karl G. Graf.

Canon 7D, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS with 1.4X Extender @ 260mm, f/7.1, 1/800 sec, ISO 400

The Roseate Spoonbill was one of the most colorful and interesting birds that we saw at the Florida Bird Festival.  Most of the time the Spoonbills were quite far away.  This one flew right over the top of me.  I got so excited that the most of my frames just caught a part of the bird.  I was lucky, out of dozen shots I took, one was centered within the frame.


Learning New Techniques

140128_Osprey by Karl G. Graf. Canon 7D, EF70-200 f/2.8L IS with 1.4x extender @ 250mm, f/9, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800

Over the past several years some of my long time friends have said they wanted to go down to the Florida Bird Festival in Titusville.  We have been talking about this for over 5 years.  This year was the year!  Three of us and our very understanding wives took the trip.  My other two photographer friends have done much more wildlife photography than me.  This was my first trip and I was ready to learn new techniques.  I quickly found out that my methodical engineering approach to working a subject was not working.  I had to be quick, anticipate, and have a lot of patience.  I took two half-day workshops and over 9000 images during three days of shooting.  Out of these 9000 images, I felt that only about 10-12 were good.  I also learned that taking so many pictures take an enormous amount of computer time just to sort out the keepers.

Wildlife photography may not be my niche.  However learning new things always excites me and gets me out of a rut that I may be in.  It also encourages me out to apply new ideas to the work that I most enjoy.  I thank Milton Heiberg and Robert Amoruso for their insightful instruction.



Circles for Lenny by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 67mm, f/8.0, 1/50 sec, ISO 200

Here I was just trying to capture the repeating circles of the wheel tires and the post in addition to the repeating lines of the logs.  Again I was thinking of B&W when I took this image.  The mixture of green grass and brown leaves cluttered the color image and distracted from the wheels.


Visualizing Black & White

140103__Fireplace (1 of 1) by Karl Graf. Canon 5D MKIII, EF24-70mm f/2.8L @ 62mm, f/11, 1/15 sec, ISO 400

When I saw this fireplace, my mind went immediately to black and white.  The shadows, bright highlights, and shapes captured my attention.  As I view simple subjects, I am slowly becoming able to pick out the shapes and tones that make the subject interesting, at least to me.


Happy New Year!

140101__Abstract Coopers Bands (1 of 1) by Karl Graf.

I was looking for colorful streamers or confetti to wish in a Happy New Year!  Alas, all I could find was a pile of old steel bands from old barrels.  Add a little Topaz magic and voila, instant streamers.

The following is the original for reference.

140101__Coopers Bands (1 of 1) by Karl Graf.