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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. zackiedawg

    Florida Birding Trip - Suggestions

    I think I'll probably be planning to be out there that day. I won't be staying late as I have an office Xmas party that night, but probably plan on shooting around noon to about 4pm, starting at Green Cay and then over to Wako to wrap. Shoot me a PM or post here when you're coming, or e-mail me at sflavwaudigtg at aol dot com, a few days before, and if you want, shoot me your phone number in the e-mail and I can text you when I'm headed out there to see where you are.
  2. zackiedawg

    Florida Birding Trip - Suggestions

    What days are you going to be there? I'd be happy to meet up if it falls on a weekend, but unfortunately those are the only days I can shoot...so if you're here on a weekday, I won't be able to.
  3. zackiedawg

    Florida Birding Trip - Suggestions

    Just to add a little info - Wakodahatchee Wetlands has definitely started to get into the rookery/nesting season...it's especially amazing now at the end of the afternoon when the place is seriously filling up. And the wood storks aren't even here yet. It's probably the most amazing bird-in-flight spot in Florida this time of year...like a shooting gallery. You may note in the EXIF that most focal lengths are LESS THAN 200mm. There are hundreds of birds there by 5pm, with at least 15 species in the air.
  4. zackiedawg

    Picture-A-Week 2018 - Week 47

    Anytime you're in the SE Florida area Shootr, let me know - be glad to take you out to my local wetlands hotspots!
  5. zackiedawg

    Picture-A-Week 2018 - Week 47

    I have no photos of turkey for Thanksgiving week. We'll have to substitute with some other birds...all alive and thriving too: A pied-billed grebe: Great blue heron, aka 'sky crane' - carrying back nearly an entire tree for the nest: A mating pair of great blue herons, doing a little necking: An ibis flying past, and seemingly having a look at me as he flies past: At sunset, the light is low where I'm shooting and where the birds are flying, but the background is lit up by the last warm light of the sun - like where this anhinga is flying by the warmly lit foliage: Three whistling ducks high enough in the sky after sunset to still be catching some red strains of light as they jet over my position:
  6. zackiedawg

    Picture-A-Week 2018 - Week 46

    Wetlands activity is really picking up - it's back to the winter BIF-palooza with the nesting birds all flying about bringing nesting materials, looking for mates, and flying in to roost for the night. Great blue heron soaring past: Ibis coming in to land at dusk: An anhinga hiding in the trees with a large fish for dinner - strong backlight glowing through the fish and bird's mouth: Very close up with a black-and-white warbler in the forest: Green heron after sunset, sitting quietly in the dusk light (ISO 6,400):
  7. zackiedawg

    Florida Birding Trip - Suggestions

    Both mornings and late day are very good in both spots - by December, Wakodahatchee will really be filling up with nests so it's good all day long, even right in the middle of the day. Green Cay is probably the best morning spot overall - and is best in morning, but still very good later in the day. Wakodahatchee is very strong as sunset nears, not just for the nesting activity but for BIF shooting as thousands of birds head back there for the night. If you get lucky and get some cold fronts up north in the week before you come, it gets even busier at these wetlands as some species push further south than normal and we can get some very nice rarities (for us!). I usually start out at Green Cay, shoot there for 3-4 hours, then move to Wakodahatchee by 3pm and close out to sunset over there.
  8. zackiedawg

    Florida Birding Trip - Suggestions

    I hesitated to comment only because you didn't specify that you would be birding through my area in SE Florida. But if by chance you decide to, or wanted to consider it, then two of the best spots in Florida sit down here, in Wakodahatchee Wetlands which is a seriously busy rookery spot for wading birds, and Green Cay Wetlands, strong on migrating and wintering species. Both are within a mile of each other, free to access, and pretty crowded in winter. Nearby to these spots, you can throw in 2 other very good spots within a 10 mile drive, with Peaceful Waters and Arthur Marshall Wildlife Refuge. Proximity to birds is a strong suit to S.E. Florida spots - when I say close, I mean touch-them-close. You can stand within 1 foot of a nest full of chicks and they will completely ignore your presence. Gallery links for Green Cay & Wakodahatchee: http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg/wakodahatchee_wetlands Arthur Marshall, Peaceful Waters, and Wellington Wetlands: http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg/florida_everglades
  9. zackiedawg

    Picture-A-Week 2018 - Week 45

    Here were the wetlands this past weekend: A water snake working his way across the open water: Closeup with a basilisk lizard: Green heron with a fish he snagged for lunch: An anhinga also got himself a fish for dinner - a bigger one too: It's Florida, so you just can't always escape the rain...whether you're a tricolor heron just giving up and standing on a rail accepting his fate, or a photographer caught out with no shelter for 1/4 mile in any direction, who also accepts his fate, and photographs the tricolor heron:
  10. zackiedawg

    Picture-A-Week 2018 - Week 44

    I wish the 'weekly' threads started on Saturday and ran through the following Friday since that would allow taking some weekend photos, and getting them posted up in that week's thread. I guess those that shoot during the week don't have this issue, but since I can really only shoot on weekends, with the threads always covering Monday through Sunday, by the time I take my weekend photos and get them uploaded, we're already on the next weekly thread! Anyway, I'm even more late to get these posted, as I'm nearly 2 weeks back - was too busy this week to get through the shots from the prior weekend and have been a bit distracted this entire weekend with my old home grounds on fire (Calabasas, CA) - I have lots of friends and some family living all through the area and have been going nuts trying to get word on them all. Here are some wildlife shots from my wetlands spots last weekend, to get my mind off it!: A juvenile purple gallinule walking on floating leaves: A raccoon walking away, but turning back to check if I'm following: A little blue heron, with a nice catch for lunch: A bee gathering some pollen: A lovely green heron, showing his fine colors and patterns and fine hairlike feather coat:
  11. zackiedawg

    Picture-A-Week 2018 - Week 43

    Here are MOSTLY birds and wildlife - though I also was inspired to 'shoot the moon' too - I hadn't really done a moon shot in a few years, and hadn't yet tried one with my FE100-400mm GM lens and 1.4x teleconverter...it's a lovely sharp combo, so on that Thursday night taking out my trash, I noticed how bright the moon was and how clear the sky, and decided to run in and grab the camera & lens for a quick handheld of the moon: On to the wetlands now...here's a cute little pied-billed grebe showing off his feathers int he sun: And an alligator being sneaky, popping up through the water plants for a peek around: A ruby-throated hummingbird looking for the perfect flower to feed: The monarchs are in town, passing through and enjoying the same flowers as the hummingbirds:
  12. zackiedawg

    Camera Bags

    Like others mentioned, my search for the perfect bag took decades, and finally was solved by having the perfect 5-6 bags...I use the one that best fits the particular day's needs. When I travel, I usually bring 3 to 4 bags with me, packing the smaller ones in my luggage and all my camera gear in the largest which becomes the carryon. It's the same approach I use with lenses when traveling - I bring many lenses with me, but many will stay back in the room and each day I pick the 1-4 lenses I'll need for that day of shooting. Which lenses I need also dictates which bag I bring that day. My first category of bags are travel/transport bags - large carry-alls used as carry-on luggage to transport most or all of my gear from place to place, not used while actually shooting on locations. My Kata backpack handled a DSLR and up to 10 lenses, including a big Tamron 150-600mm plus all accessories, flash, tripod, etc. I've used it for many years and lots of travels. However, since I've really gone to mirrorless for almost all travel needs, I can fit a lot more into a smaller shoulder bag...so my current travel/transport bag is a Tenba Discovery shoulder bag. I can fit my A6300 body plus 18-135mm, Sigma 16mm, 10-18mm, 35mm F1.8, Voigtlander 35mm F1.4, 55-210mm, Konica 40mm F1.8, FE70-300mm G, two adapters, 4 batteries, two chargers, remotes, cables, spare cards, etc all into that bag. On rare occasions, I may actually use this bag in the field too - in order to bring my FE70-300mm along with 2-3 other lenses - leaving all the other stuff back at the room/cabin/rental. I have two specialty holster bags - a Think Tank dual holster that can handle two long birding lenses side-by-side, mostly used in my DSLR days more, and a Tenba 635 top-load holster which I bought specifically to handle my FE70-300mm or FE100-400mm lens attached to the camera body, plus batteries. For mostly a place to secure my camera with one lens attached if it's raining, I have a Lowepro Rezo 110 - it fits nothing more than the A6300 with small prime or kit attached, plus batteries. My lightest multi-lens bags are my Tamrac Zuma Compact bag, which can fit my mirrorless body with one attached smaller lens and two additional small primes. It's a super-tight fit, barely zipping closed with the 3 lenses and camera inside. Just a hair bigger, cheap Ritz Gear compact bag - this one can also fit the mirrorless with lens attached plus two extra lenses, but the lenses can be a compact telezoom or fat ultrawide...and there's a small outside zipped pocket for batteries.
  13. zackiedawg

    Picture-A-Week 2018 - Week 42

    Nice birds - looks like the new lens is pretty solid. And nice snow in AZ. I got snowed on passing through Flagstaff on my way to Cali many years ago - back then I didn't even realize quite how high Flagstaff was and didn't even know they could get snow. The pizzadilla looks good - we always called those 'mexican pizzas', though usually made with corn tortillas rather than flour. Winter migration is starting to kick in here in Florida, so mixed in with our regular wildlife, we have many small perching birds passing through. Shots taken with Sony A6300 and FE100-400mm GM lens: The palm warblers have returned: As have the American redstarts: A cute baby raccoon trying to hide in the shadows, unsure if I'm a threat. Momma was nearby eating some palm tree fruits and was unconcerned: A northern cardinal: And a white eyed vireo - can you tell why he got that name?:
  14. zackiedawg

    Advice for first "real" camera.

    You have a few layers of options that might work well - depending on how much you want to spend on lenses... The cheapest option would be to go with a basic, entry-level DSLR, such as the Nikon D3300 or 3500 or Canon EOS Rebel T6i or SL2. These are small DSLRs, basic and capable, work fine with just a kit lens or cheap consumer zoom, but allow room to expand up to better lenses (heavier and more expensive lenses too) if the bug really bites and you want to improve. DSLRs are not the smallest or lightest options with large sensors anymore, but they are the cheapest overall. DSLRs are similar in feel and operation to old film SLRs - you look through a glass viewfinder to focus and frame the shot, but don't see an electronic simulation of what the shot will look like until after you take it. They have an optional mode called 'live view' that can let you use the LCD panel on the back to see the electronic shot, but often function much more slowly in these modes. The next option would be to look at some 'mirrorless' options. Mirrorless cameras are very similar to DSLRs in that they use the same large sensors, and use interchangeable lenses...but they are slimmer, often lighter and smaller, and work a bit more 'modern' for those without a film camera history in that they use electronic screens and/or LCD panels to see what you're shooting - much like a phone or P&S digital camera would. Since these cameras are designed to operate this way, they perform very quickly, similar to how the DSLRs would when using optical finders. Some of these mirrorless bodies can be quite slim and small - look at Sony's A6000/6300/6500 series, Fuji's XE series, Olympus' Pen series for the slimmer, lighter bodies. The Sony and Fuji models have the same APS-C sensors as the DSLRs above do...the Olympus Pen series use a slightly smaller sensor called M4:3, which is still significantly larger than the ones in P&S cameras - not to mention phones. Mirrorless cameras, and lenses, often cost just a bit more than DSLRs - they're newer, and fairly popular, so pricing hasn't settled down as low as with DSLRs. The third option would be to consider a larger-sensor point-and-shoot camera. Certain models with non-interchangeable lenses have sensors that are quite a bit bigger than phone sensors or pocket P&S sensors, but smaller than the ones in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. They can be a good middle ground, because you can get cameras with good optical zoom lenses with much better range, sensors that can handle lower light and indoor situations better, and yet still small and even pocketable. The so-called 1" sensor cameras are a good example - look at Sony's RX100 series, Panasonic's LX100 series, or Canon's GX series, as examples of these types of cameras. Most or all of these cameras will have some wifi capability, or the ability to transfer photos to computers reasonably easily. Remember, these cameras shoot onto memory cards, which usually can be easily taken out of the camera, plugged into a laptop or computer, and all photos transferred quickly and securely that way...so you don't have to use the wifi functionality or even have it if you're bringing a computer or laptop along.
  15. zackiedawg

    Long Lens Rain Cover for Alaska

    The good thing about the cheap ones is that it's quite easy to make your own additional holes as needed - tripod screws and strap screws can be poked right through - you may consider a little rubber washer at the strap side to help clamp down tightly where you've poked a hole through the plastic. If you do get the rainsleeve very wet, just remember to give it a little blot-dry before pulling it off to avoid wetting the camera as you slide it out. Most cameras and lenses, even if not weather sealed, can get a few drops on them and be quickly dried off - only if you're incredibly unlucky to have the drop land perfectly right on a seam or button and seep through to something sensitive will you have a problem...and never wipe dry - always blot dry to let the water absorb up into the cloth or towel...wiping can end up distributing the water right into one of those little entry points!