An early spring day at the National Zoo. The lemurs were out enjoying the weather.
Not far away is the Ball’s Bluff National Historic Area. The area includes woods, a small meadow and a cemetery. Lots of birds make this area home and it is common to hear a Barred Owl calling in the early evening. Along with the birds are many wildflowers. It is amazing how many flowers can be found in a very small patch. I photograph flowers lying down with the camera mounted on a Platypod Pro. The mount places the camera lens about four inches off the ground. The low angle of view puts a nice perspective to the flowers. The mount also allows for a very steady camera for longer exposures as the sun drops below the horizon. I especially like the “golden hour” effect on the flowers.
Over the past several years a drive through the Blackwater National Wildlife Reserve would included a view of a pair of Bald Eagles. Often the pair would be quite a distance off offering only a glimpse of the birds. Sometimes the eagles will perch on an old tree near the drive. I was lucky on a recent drive to find the eagles on the tree only a few hundred feet away. The sun was just an “inch” off the horizon but it was enough light to make the shot. I was using a 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender on a crop sensor camera.
This rare visitor to Northern Virginia has been quite an attraction. The Northern Shrike or also known as the Grey Shrike does not normally come as far south as Virginia. This bird has been hanging around the Woodlands park for a few weeks and is easy to spot. Getting good pictures can be a problem because it perches high up in the trees for a good look around for food. Over a period of a few hours though, I noticed there were a few favorite spots where he returned to often. I took advantage and got a few good shots using a 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender. Next time I go, I’ll bring along a crop sensor camera and maybe get a little larger image.
A 10K race in the morning and a drive through Blackwater NWR in the afternoon. It was a perfect weather day, warm for November. Bald eagles are common at the reserve but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. This one is sitting on the former site of an osprey nest. Eagles enlarge their nest every year and it is not uncommon for eagles to steal the sticks from osprey nests. Next year when the osprey return, they will construct a new nest and the eagles will be raising their young in the newly expanded nest.