Female Hooded Merganser taking off in flight

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The Male Hooded Merganser seems to get all the attention because of his coloring and fan-shaped white crest however the Female Hooded Merganser is very attractive with her tawny crest.   I was visiting the Viera Wetlands and this beautiful Female Hooded Merganser took off from the water with no sighting of the male.  They are only winter residents in that area of Florida so maybe he was nearby.  They are capable of taking off very quickly from water so I feel fortunate to have captured this image.

Male House Finch

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I set up a bird blind in my backyard hoping to capture some migratory songbirds. During April and May in Western NC, many beautiful songbirds pass through on their way “somewhere else“.  I had seen a pair of Rose Breasted Grosbeaks that looked tired so I was hoping to capture the pair. Instead this beautiful Male House Finch entered my view.  He is not migrating and apparently lives in Western North Carolina year round but I had never managed to capture an in flight image.  

I attribute my good fortune in capturing this image of this beautiful bird, to the bird blind that I set up in my back yard. If you don’t utilize a bird blind or camouflage of some sort, I strongly encourage you to get one. After all you never know what little beauty might fly by.

The Elusive Wood Duck

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A pair of Wood Ducks swimming in natural habitat side by side (SANDRA CALDERBANK, sandra calderbank)
Male Wood Duck swimming in river in woods (SANDRA CALDERBANK, sandra calderbank)
I have admired the colorful Wood Duck from pictures …..OTHER people’s pictures….for many years. I have frequented areas that were supposedly replete with Wood Ducks and have NEVER seen one.

Last spring I was driving around Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge and out of the corner of my eye, way back in the dark marshy woods, I saw a pair of Wood Ducks. Of course when I stopped to try and photograph the pair of Wood Ducks, they immediately flew away. I trudged through the marshy swamp trying to find them without success. Over the next few days I went back to that same spot multiple times and waited and waited and waited and finally was rewarded with some images of Wood Ducks. They seem to frequent dark areas that are very difficult to photograph and are very shy.

The Wood Duck is one of the most stunningly beautiful birds ever created and I feel fortunate to finally have seen and photographed these colorful waterfowl.

Conowingo Eagles

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Adult Bald Eaglewith fish in talons, liftininf off from water, looking down at fish (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)Adult Bald Eagle lifting off from water with fish (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)Adult Bald Eagle with feet forward, about to catch a fish in water. Fish is visible in water (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)Adult Bald Eagle dropping a fish mid air into the water (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)

Watching Bald Eagles is such a wonderful treat! Unless you live on the coast of Alaska, Bald Eagles are quite uncommon (at least in the mountains of North Carolina they are quite rare).  Last year a friendly fellow photographer shared the secret of  the Conowingo Eagles.  I want to thank you Bruce DeBonnis The Intrepid Amateur for sharing this wonderful place to watch and photograph Bald Eagles!  Conowingo is on the Susquehanna River and in November and December the Eagles are very active. It was my first time using my new Canon 5Dsr for flight shots and it greatly exceeded my expectations. I would love to hear what other bird photographers think of the 5Dsr.  I am very happy with the performance of this 50 MP camera.

Check out SleekLens Photoshop Overlays!

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I recently had the opportunity to use a new product from SleekLens. I used an overlay product called “Light Leak”. I use Photoshop CC 2017 and these are overlays that enable you to add light and/or color to various areas of your photos. There are 18 white and 13 Color Overlays. The overlays can be used as a simple drag and drop into your image.  You can easily  change the size to fit your image, create a mask and adjust opacity. These are great time savers! I recently used the light leaks overlays to enhance the sun which was very low in the sky. I can’t show you the before and after images  because I used it on a project that I am currently preparing. On the Sleeklens website are many before and after examples for you to see. Let me assure you that you will want the simplicity and excellent results that these products produce! If you want to effortlessly (almost) and efficiently add  that little extra punch or twinkle to your images, these are for you.

I only used the Light Leaks overlays for Photoshop but I was so impressed with the results that I am going to purchase some of their products. They offer products for both LightRoom and Photoshop.  Check out SleekLens today.