Saturday, November 13, 2010

Montauk Morning

This morning I was up at 5:20 to make it to Montauk for sunrise.  It's not an easy thing to do (especially since I'm incapable of going to bed before midnight) but it's worth it because you get lighting that you just can't get during the day... or even an hour after sunrise as evidenced by the photo above.  The sun was just a few minutes over the horizon and not yet over the southern cliffs of Montauk which created a beautiful glow.  The out-of-focus pink in the background is comprised of marshland grasses and the dune.  Any other time during the day this would be rendered as a very dull brown.  The other advantage to sunrise (especially when compared to sunset) is that you get the best lighting for the first hour or so, and can continue shooting with decent light.  The same of course isn't true for sunset... once it gets too dark, you have to pack it in for the day, thus the morning gives you more opportunities especially if you come across a patient subject (which this Cooper's Hawk was not!) While walking the trail headed toward the seal haulout site (it was too rough for seals to be lounging on the rocks unfortunately) I turned a corner and came basically face to face with this juvenile hawk and I think we were both a little surprised...

A few moments before my run-in with the hawk, this ring-necked pheasant crossed my path.  Would have liked more light so I didn't have to boost my ISO to 2000 (which would be nothing on a D3s, but is pushing it on a D300s) but I'll take it.  I rarely see these birds out in the open like this, so it was a nice opportunity.

The beautiful morning light continued to pay off with the way it lit up the breast of this ring-billed gull:

There are a few gulls in this image (if you look hard!) so I'm going to include it in this blog.... I couldn't resist a shot of the lighthouse with such an intense glow.

I like this shot of an American Robin in flight because small birds are so hard to get flying... aside from being diminutive, they are just so quick and like to tuck their wings in which makes for a weird picture of a torpedo shaped bird... so at least this bird gave me a nice little extension.
While the seas were rough, a few Common Eiders were hanging out.  I don't care much for the composition of this photo, but the colors on the sea foam are enticing

The last bird of interest I found at Montauk (it was quite slow) was this black-capped chickadee that was a little cooperative, but it wouldn't go onto a cleaner looking branch for me.  I guess it's a good representation of their habitat....

After I left 'The End' I headed to Water Mill to a spot that is always reliable for good winter waterfowl.  It's a private road, so I'm not exactly "allowed" to be there, but there is only one year-round resident who doesn't mind my presence... the year-rounder also feeds the ducks/geese which helps bring in some of the waterfowl.  Being that it's early in the season, the only bird of interest in attendance were Ruddy Ducks but I also took a head-shot of this female mallard.

And the Ruddy...

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