Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD does birds in flight

An unexpected recent handheld shot that worked out well for me.  I was outdoors photographing scenery and was fortunate to have the versatile Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC lens mounted to capture this Great Egret in flight.  The fine detail looks very good to me.

DaveBlinder GreatEgret Tamron 18400mm IMG_1601crop

Exposure details:

Tamron 18-400mm VC + Canon SL2 handheld

1/3200 F/8.0 IS 400

-1/3 in Aperture Priority exposure mode

AI Servo autofocus

Raw image quality

For a closer look at this image, please download the uncropped full-resolution image from my Google Drive account.


New Jersey Wildlife Videography

I recently filmed and edited 3 new short wildlife DSLR videos… in high definition of course.  The opportunities for getting high quality and up close footage of wild animals are few and far between.  More often then not, the view of a wild bird or mammal is obscured by a foreground element like a branch or shrub.  Also, even with a long lens like a 600mm zoom getting good proximity on the subject can be a challenge.  Anyways, on to my newest videos… all of the video editing was performed in Adobe Premiere Pro and I laid down the audio tracks in Audacity.  Filming performed via Canon 60D DSLR and Tamron lenses.

Harbor Seal:

Harbor Seal filmed with Tamron 16-300mm VC PZD lens + Canon 60D

Northern Cardinal

Cardinal filmed with Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens + Canon 60D

Brant (geese)

Brant filmed with Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens + Canon 60D

For video licensing info, freelance video editing, or for further info on my techniques just ask.

New Jersey Bird Photography: Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird, New Jersey wildlife photography.

This female Bluebird did not tolerate close photos, but luckily I paused upon approach to grab what I call “safety shots”.  In the world of birdwatchers, we become familiar with the terms “flushing” and “flush range”.  It infers a wildlife species’ or individual’s quantifiable tolerance for close human approach.

My “safety shot” shown here has both an uncluttered foreground and background while possessing a viable illumination.  Hence, a keeper for me.

NJ birding

A female Eastern Bluebird sits aloft a horizontal branch on the periphery of the forest. #NewJersey bird photography taken with #Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and #Canon EOS 60D.

Tamron Lenses​ SP 150-600mm VC + Canon 60D


Florida Nature Travel Photography: Roseate Spoonbill

My recent trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida yielded my first views of the radiant Roseate Spoonbill.  Spoonbills are fairly large wading birds (similar in habit to Herons) with varying degrees of pink on their plumage.  Their easily recognizable color and shape make them a favorite for bird photography.  For this creative flight blur capture I set my exposure in manual mode to have complete control over the outcome of the photo.

Exposure settings: 1/25s F/16 ISO 100, 483mm handheld.

BIF photography

A creative motion capture of Roseate Spoonbill at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Bird #photo taken with the #Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the #Canon EOS 60D DSLR.

New Jersey Bird Photography: American Robin

When we think of wildlife photography, and especially bird photography, we imagine filling the frame as tightly as possible with the subject and getting maximum detail on the subject.  There is certainly great challenge and also visual rewards in such an image.  Conversely, we may have pigeon-holed ourselves as artists by not giving the bird “space to breathe” within the frame, and also neglected to think of the greater commercial value of a more subdued composition.

NJ Nature Photo

A maze of barren tree branches and a featureless sky reveal an American Robin surveying its surroundings. Photographed with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 60D DSLR.

The above composition relies on the negative space of the sky, as well as several of points alignments to the rule of thirds.  Exposure settings: 1/320 F/10 ISO 200.  Taken with the tripod-mounted Tamron SP 150-600mm VC Lens and the Canon EOS 60D DSLR.

New Jersey Bird Photography: Magnolia Warbler

With a full day for photography ahead of me, I concocted a course of action to head to Sandy Hook National Recreation Area in New Jersey.  Many photographers are drawn to the area for various reasons: portrait shoots on the beach, sunrise/sunset captures, and bird photography.  Tentatively, I blocked off the time in my head… afternoon of chasing around birds and early evening to try some creative sunset images.

I did wind up with several pics that I liked, but this one really stood out to me:

NJ Birding pic

Up close and personal view of a small and vivid woodland songbird, a Magnolia Warbler. Photo taken with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 7D.

The above uncropped telephoto view was taken with the Tamron SP 150-600mm lens and the Canon EOS 7D DSLR.  Exposure settings: 1/1250 F/8 ISO 800

Birdscape: Vulture and Clouds

I went outside for a relatively short duration this morning, and with intermittent clouds and harsh late morning sun I envisioned it as time better spent photographing wildlife than landscapes.  Once I got to my destination I was excited to see three Red-tailed Hawks (our most common Hawk) flying near each other.  Unfortunately, they dispersed quickly so the photo opps were limited.  Shortly thereafter, two Turkey Vultures (common large scavenger) lofted above the treeline and into the clouds.  While not the most graceful or attractive bird, they are interesting in their own right and I will often photograph them if the conditions are right.

Cathartes aura

A Turkey Vulture soars through dramatic clouds in the skies above New Jersey. Image taken with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 7D.

This was my favorite frame of a Vulture flying from today.  I like this angle of its wingspan, and that its flight path is parallel to the seam in the clouds.

Photo taken with the tripod-mounted Tamron SP 150-600mm and the Canon EOS 7D.  Exposure settings: 1/1250 F/10 ISO 100

New Jersey Bird Photography: Bald Eagle

Here is a recent photo taken less than 15 miles from my home.  While Bald Eagles are certainly not abundant in New Jersey, we do have breeding pairs that can be found in many counties.  Expansive habitats like the Delaware River are prime fishing areas for our national bird, but they can survive off of inland lakes and ponds if the conditions are correct.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

An adult Eagle captured mid-air, this bird was circling a meadow on a warm Fall day in New Jersey. Photographed with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 7D.

Above photo of a Bald Eagle was taken in Morris County, New Jersey.  Equipment included the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 7D.  Exposure settings were: 1/200 F/8 ISO 400 @ 600mm.

Name that bird

We had a fairly heavy overcast afternoon today in New Jersey.  While my typical approach to bird photography is to freeze any action, the increased exposure time lent itself much better to creative motion blurs.  I thought I would have some fun with this one, and allow viewers to guess the species name of the bird in the photo below.  It is a composite image, and both birds are the same species.


Motion blur capture of a bird in flight, this a two image composite. Photographed in New Jersey with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 7D.

Any guesses on what type of bird is flying in my frames?

I will disclose the information after I get a good number of guesses.  Photo taken with the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 7D in New Jersey.

Image Optimization for Wildlife Photography: Common Yellowthroat

I do get occasionally get asked about my post-processing workflow.  I am an advocate of “getting it right in the camera”, and most of my photographs are presented in a straightforward manner so I spend a trivial amount of time in the “digital darkroom”.  When shooting at higher ISO’s (800 and above), I find the need to apply a little extra TLC to photos.

post-processing before and after

The left side is my photo with my default RAW conversion settings applied. The right side is my final optimized image with additional selective noise reduction and sharpening performed for maximum image quality.

The above side by side view shows my typical RAW file with default settings applied (very light noise reduction and sharpening).  On the right I have gently applied more noise reduction on only the background, and additional sharpening on the bird’s face only.  This took me less than 5 minutes to prepare my photo for web and basic print usage.

NJ bird photo

One of our most common Warblers in New Jersey, here is a striking male in his typical habitat. Photographed with the Tamron SP 150-600mm Lens and the Canon EOS 7D.

The photo above is finalized JPEG for online presentation.  Cropping would increase the apparent signal-to-noise ratio of the image, and I did not feel a crop was in order for this shot.

This male Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) was photographed at the Troy Meadows Natural Area in New Jersey.  Photography equipment used includes: Tamron SP 150-600mm VC Lens, Canon EOS 7D DSLR, Manfrotto 055x ProB tripod.

Exposure info: 1/160 F/8 ISO 800