Trying to open the pitcher?

In front of the Visitor’s Center at the State Botanical Garden is a water garden full of lilies and pitcher plants.  On a hot July day, the water and plants attract quite a few dragonflies that are not all that concerned with people passing by.  This particular one had laid claim to a bright red pitcher plant and stayed there for quite a while so I could get his portrait.

I had put my long lens on the camera with hopes of seeing hummingbirds but it turns out that this is a pretty good tool for close-up shots as well.  The only problem was that I kept getting closer than the minimum focus distance and had to back up a number of times.

I thought this came out really well since I was hand-holding the big lens and got some fantastic sharpness on the little details like the hairs on the dragonfly’s legs.  I kind of wish I had set my aperture a bit smaller to get the whole of the wing-span in focus but I wanted to blur out the background for a smooth look.  The green background was provided by a lily pad in the pond behind the pitcher plant.

State Botanical Garden of Georgia
2450 S Milledge Avenue
Athens, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/6.3 – 1/640 sec – ISO 400

Advertisements

Mississippi Kite

I experienced a new bird breed yesterday when visiting the State Botanical Garden in Athens, Georgia.  Joyce saw this elegant bird flying by first and we spotted where he landed, high on a bare branch.  It was very had to figure out what it was for a number of reasons.  First, I had never seen one of these before and second, it was approaching high-noon so, it was hard to pick out details of a white brested bird against the clouds and brilliant sun.

Joyce thought it may be an eagle and I thought it was a hawk of some sort until I saw it through my lens.  When I got a better look, I thought it might be an Osprey but, they don’t have the white head like this.  I have to credit David Akoubian for identifying this bird for me.  Being the great “bird nerd” that he is, he came back quickly with an ID on it.

I was lucky that I brought my long Tamron lens on this trip.  We heard that there were lots of hummingbirds at the gardens so, I hauled the big gun along.  Never expected to see this kind of sight but I’m glad that we did!

Mississippi Kite
(Ictinia mississippiensis)

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/11 – 1/1000 sec – ISO 250

Foggy Day in Cades Cove

Our last morning of the Spring in the Smoky Mountains Workshop was a return to Cades Cove.  We were hoping that the sun might peek out after the rain showers had finally stopped but no such luck.  We did however get treated to a wonderful foggy morning which shrouded the mountains and gave the landscape a beautiful white backdrop.

I got this image on one of the many roads that are lined with split-rail barbed wire fencing.  The light was beautiful as the early morning sun broke through to warm things up but the fog was still covering everything in the distance.

We were a bit sad to leave the area as Sunday was turning out to be beautiful.  Wish I could have stayed longer and we had the chance to go up to Clingman’s Dome but the elevated roads were still iced over and there was snow at the top of the mountains the night before.

Have to get back up here more often!

Cades Cove
Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
26mm @ f/10 – 1/30 sec – ISO 100