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About zackiedawg

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Boca Raton, Florida
  • Interests
    Cruising, boating, driving, computers, hockey, photography
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe, Canada, Alaska

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  1. A lovely, cool, sunny Saturday, January 9, 2021 at the wetlands: Otter on shore, startled by my approach: American wigeon, one of our wintering ducks, stretching its wings: Really close up with a double crested cormorant, who was too busy watching the waters below for a fish to care about me 10 feet away: Red-shouldered hawk circling over me: One of the most beautiful color pattern birds in the wetlands - the lovely American bittern, sitting out in the open enjoying the late afternoon sun: I know t
  2. Finally got the chance to sort through my photos from New Year weekend. Was very hectic taking down Christmas lights and tree, and errands, so it took a few days before I could offload the card and sort. My very first photo of 2021 was of...an alligator!: New Year's Day was cool here in Florida, so the reptiles were mostly out of the water and out in the sun, trying to get some warmth. This brown water snake had coiled up on the fan of a palm frond: This green iguana was wearing his orange 'suit', in mating colors, and decided to stand up in the t
  3. While out shooting my usual wildlife and bird photos, I sometimes stay all the way past sunset - while these are bird photos, because they also capture the sunset skies, they qualify as sunset photos too. The first set are from November 27, 2020... Ibises flying in to roost for the night: More ibi: Wood stork approaching: lone ibis in colorful sky: Great blue heron silhouetted against last glow of sunset clouds at dusk: One month later, I again stayed out to sunset, on December 27, 2020
  4. Busy holiday week - I got three different chances to head out to the wetlands with Christmas Eve and Christmas day off, followed by the weekend. The first brief excursion was on Christmas day, when I went out for a quick 2 hours in between family #2 morning gifts (mom and step-father) and family #3 dinner (step-brother's house and family). They're not turtle doves...but close enough - white winged doves for Christmas day: And a tricolor heron having a traditional Christmas dinner...sushi!: After Christmas, I headed out on Saturday to more distant
  5. Stuff from this weekend - I headed back up to a more northerly and westerly wetlands park that I don't get to as often, and since the birds up there tend to be a little more skittish when a person approaches, I brought the biggest gun I had - the 200-600mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter, giving me 840mm optically, and 1260mm with the APS-C crop included. Afterwards, I headed to my more regular wetlands to shoot some of the local stuff, and left off the 1.4x TC for that: Roseate spoonbill at 1,260mm equivalent: Lesser yellowlegs at 1,260mm equivalent:
  6. Managed to get out for a second day during this week - on sunday to the local wetlands for a little more birding action. Lovely day, lovely sun and sunset, and some colorful birds about: Common yellowthroat male, hiding down in the reeds by the waterline: Red-shouldered hawk hanging out on a dead tree snag: Female belted kingfisher, with a snag of her own to survey the waters below and look for fish to grab: An osprey flying overhead, with a small fish it snagged for a quick snack: Then in came the roseate spoonbi
  7. Did some shooting on Friday this week - I had to meet a client around noon quite far from the office, so decided it wasn't worth trying to drive back for just a few hours of work before having to head back home again...so since I have an abundance of unused vacation days, I just took one, met my client, then headed out to the wetlands after. It was a horribly overcast day, but still nice to be out shooting instead of being in the office. My client was spending the day flying his radio-controlled jet airplane - so I met him out at the airfields to complete some paperwork, then decided sin
  8. I was a little behind in getting my photos from Dec 6th downloaded and sorted, as I was busy with Christmas decorations inside, plus some errands, work, and shopping...this weekend I went through and processed all my stuff from Dec 5th, 6th, and 11th - all days I got to spend out in the wetlands. Here are some selections from the weekend of the 5th and 6th: Great blue heron standing on a snag over the water: Alligator cruising with his own camouflaged hunting hide: Red-shouldered hawk standing up on a tall dead tree to look out over the
  9. Rental is probably a good idea for such a lens, where you're not likely to need it for general shooting, just for a one-time trip. I'd even consider possibly even thinking about going a little bigger and renting the 200-600mm lens - it is bigger and heavier, but if you're just renting it can deliver significantly more reach and the IQ is darn close to the 100-400mm GM - with much of the wildlife you'll encounter in Alaska being either from the ship or on various land tours or even walking around the port stops - you will see some eagles right on the docks, and some seals or whales
  10. Got out during the long holiday weekend only one day for shooting wildlife and birds - but it turned out to be a very nice day, Friday, November 27th. Here are some of the wetlands critters: The lovely pied-billed grebes - so soft and fluffy, and the size of a bathtub rubber ducky: Stealthily hiding in the dark shady forest area, a red-shouldered hawk hoping none of the birds notice him. I spotted him, but needed ISO 4,000 to shoot him in that dim light: The American bitterns are back in the wetlands - a bird we get mostly during the winter month
  11. I had two days to get out and shoot during this photo week - a day off on Friday, followed by the Saturday regular visit to the wetlands. Friday started nice, with some lovely birds, but ended in heavy, biblical flooding rains, and then Saturday remained clear through past sunset. Here are some of the lovely birds captured on those two days: A female boat-tailed grackle posing atop a small tree: The tiny but pretty eastern phoebe: Very close up with a double-crested cormorant: This lovely female painted bunting let me get a close
  12. After missing out on the wetlands last weekend due to really heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions (12 inches of rain at my house!)...I was finally able to catch a nice, clear day to hit the wetlands this past Saturday. Some nice encounters, and I was able to shoot from about 12:30pm to 5:30pm after the sun set. Here's some of the variety: An osprey giving me the intense eyes - this is one of the last things a lot of prey see before those talons come down and grab them: The great blue herons are among the first birds nesting again for the winter - they sta
  13. 70F would be a cold front for us. I'd give a body part to have those temps. Aside from the tropical storm rains this weekend that dumped 10 inches of rain here, our temps through the week even with clouds and rain have been at 80-82 - and once the clouds clear by the weekend we're forecast for 85. Add in our lovely 80% humidity, and you get a heat index of right around 100 degrees. And that's our COOLDOWN - we were upper 90s with heat indexes of 115-120 from April to late October. And unlike other places, our low temps at night don't deviate very much - we might get to 79 at ni
  14. The weekly wildlife from the wetlands here in Florida...which have been decidedly WET lately, and due to get even wetter this weekend: Great blue heron with a very large fish catch: Green iguana sitting up for a view over the tall grass: A very very tiny bird, the blue-grey gnatcatcher - similar in size to a hummingbird, but flies and moves like most warblers/perching birds: An even smaller baby tree frog - all of 2/3" in length: A male red-winged blackbird challenging me on the rail as I tried to walk by:
  15. The basics (which you may have already been using) is of course to first have the focus set to 'continuous' (AF-C). For focus area, with a bird against empty sky, wide focus area should be fine...but if it's a fairly slow and steady bird not darting about too randomly, you could also narrow the focus zone down to center and just be sure to keep the bird on the center of the frame. You really likely don't need any advanced tracking modes unless it was really flying erratically and it was difficult to keep it in the center of the frame while panning - in those cases, the newer tracking AF algo
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