Dive!!

Less than 3 seconds elapse from the Osprey initiating dive to emergence from the surf and flight, fish in talons.

A sequence of high speed shots of what the Osprey does best. For this, the sixth and final post of this series (Click me for the first post, “Endless Searching“), we follow the bird in a dramatic plummet into the surf until it rises, catch in claws.

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“All Elements In Place”

Late morning of January 20, 2019 I headed out with the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III mounted with the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L USM lens for handheld shots. Many elements aligned for these shots: weather, equipment, placement among them. The angle of the sun at 11:21 am was not optimal, but the cloud cover made up for it.

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The Day’s Setting

Commitment

The dive impact happens in less than 2 seconds.

My observation is the reason the wings are extended is to maintain control of the dive…..
…..I have seen these dives terminate inches from the water with a u-shaped swoop.
Talons are extended in the final seconds.

The Strike

Less than one second from point of impact until emgergence and flight.

Instant of impace with wings still extended.
Gone

Arise

What strength, to lift off from the water.
Catch in talons
Copyright 2022, Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Osprey Pictorial

Humans are hard coded to relish scenes of water and land.

Now and then a photograph comes along that stands by itself. For this, the fifth post of this series (Click me for the first post, “Endless Searching“), we explore images that speak for themselves.

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“Another Day in Paradise”

Humans are hard coded to relish scenes of water and land. This day I headed out with the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III mounted with the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L USM lens for handheld shots.

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The Day’s Setting

Hook, Line and Sinker

Poise

Barely visible on the horizon are Cape Canaveral Launch Towers
Copyright 2022, Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Nesting

December through February is Florida Osprey nesting season.

“Florida ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) commonly nest on power poles, communication towers, water navigation devices, lighting fixtures, outdoor billboards and other man-made structures as well as in decaying or dead trees.” This quote from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site is a fitting introduction. For this, the fourth post of this series (Click me for the first post, “Endless Searching“), I explore images of Osprey nesting behavior.

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“Other Man-Made Structures”

Early morning winter Cocoa Beach walks offer a new experience with each dawn be it a change in wind, light, or beach-combing offerings. This looming crane was a consistent specter the entire month, poised over a downtown parking garage under construction.

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On the Lookout

Distant Figures

Each winter morning January 2019 I left our ocean side condo to walk the beach, taking equipment according to a whim. For this series I used the Sony Alpha 700 with a variable “Zoom” lens. In this next shot the focal length was set to maximum.

Searching the internet (“Florida Osprey behavior”), a link from http://www.naturesacademy.org states, in Florida, Osprey nesting season is December through February. The following series of photographs clearly show an Osprey with nesting material. The header image for this post clearly shows the markings of the individual holding a large branch.

The second individual is close to the same size, it is a reasonable conclusion the two are flying together. The series was taken in a 33 second time span.

The two were flying around the crane and it is beyond imagination they’d be successful building on an actively used crane. Would construction come to a halt until the nest was abandoned? I wonder.

In following days there were no signs of nesting behavior on the crane.

Copyright 2022, Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Shoulder to Shoulder

Snatch and Grab Shopper

“They walk among us” can evoke horror, still it is a fitting description for the many species successful in an ecological niche occupied by humans. This is the third post of a series featuring the Osprey of Cocoa Beach, Florida. The first post is “Endless Searching,” In this post we follow a householder on a shopping expedition.

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Observation

Search internet references on Florida Osprey you find there is a mixture of year-round residents and migrants passing through spring/fall to points farther north. This being January, my brilliant conclusion is these are residents of Cocoa Beach, maintaining nests. My next post will have more on this.

Each winter morning January 2019 I left our ocean side condo to walk the beach, taking equipment according to a whim. For this series I used the Sony Alpha 700 with a variable lens. In this first shot, the watchful pose of the hunting Osprey is apparent, long glide with head slightly down.

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On the Lookout

Dive!!

Once these hawks entered my dim awareness and their habits understood, with a lot of luck I was able to click the button at the right time. You can see in the previous post, “Fishing Creatures,” how little time elapsed during a dive, the split second opportunity seen in the following photograph.

Committed

Wow, that is impact. The bird is poised to grab one fish, spotted under the water 50+ feet away, talons extended.

Into the Drink

Success rate? Those days in January, if the Osprey hit the water more than 50% of the time it flew away with a fish.

Our seven year old grandson is an enthusiastic fisherman and might be able to identify this catch. In the distance, on the horizon is Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, the lighthouse and space launch towers .

An image of Osprey / Human closeness. The long lens tends to bring objects closer together, the Osprey is far away from the early morning walkers.

A reader, “ekurie”, in observing Ospreys noticed the catch is oriented to aerodynamic, placed head first toward the direction of flight. The hawk is using the evolutionary adaptations of the fish, to reduce drag in the water, to flying through the air.

This snatch and grab shopper is headed straight home to a nest beyond the shore front condos.

A Well Deserved Meal.
Copyright 2019, Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

The Thaw at Taughannock Falls

A Friday Evening Stroll through a February Thaw

Pam and I were drawn outside the day after Valentine’s a bit of sun, an unreliable warm breeze, a promise of exercise. Our expectations were disappointed for all but the last at the foot of the Taughannock Falls gorge trail.

We had a reminder mid-February marks the start of avian mating behavior with this addition to the view from Taughannock Creek, the first large waterfall. For the cold, drizzly excursion I chose the IPhone, in a waterproof case, for the images. The fanicful birdhouse inscription reads “The Old Birds from Pa.”

Click the photograph for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Online gallery.

The winding gorge takes a general east, southeasterly direction. Where the sun cannot reach the snow was reduced to a treacherous slushy ice mix more nasty than dangerous.

View from the Overlook on the way to the trail. This is the endpoint of our hike, viewed from the gorge rim.

Of all the area hiking experiences, Taughannock Gorge Trail is the only one available year round. The gorge is wide with enough room for the footpath to avoid the cliff edge. Today, there were places were ice formations were throwing large ice chunks down the slope. The park ranges place tree trunks along the cliff base, with warning signs to stay away. Still, there are visitors who stray too close with fatal outcomes reported by local news.

Pam was fascinated by the appearance of snow and ice accumulated on the talus, here seen from the Taughannock Falls viewing bridge.

Click photograph for my “Finger Lakes Memories” online gallery. Photo by Pam.

You can just pick out the viewing bridge in the Falls Overlook video.

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Photo by Pam.

Taughannock Falls bound by ice is a most dramatic sight. I need to post photographs from a 2005 visit during an especially frigid February. Here, the falls have thrown off the ice, leaving this house-size chunk.

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The surrounding gorge walls are continually frost coated by the mist.

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210 foot Taughannock Falls from the viewing bridge.

In more clement seasons the Gorge Trail ends much closer to the falls. Today, it was closed as, during winter and especially thaws, blocks of the sandstone cap break away to fall with great force across that part of the trail. This viewing area is visible in the Falls Overlook video.

A Far Country XI: Gondwana Part 1

amazing resolution with the Canon 24 mm lens

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The resolution of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM makes this lens a favorite of mine for landscape work.  Let me show you why.

The valley today’s posting lies behind the tree.  It is a broad valley shaped by ancient glaciers.

Here is the Google Earth view, from an elevation of 9,400 feet, with the ship position marked.  Northwest is a pushpin titled, “Hanging Valley and Waterfall.”

A Far Country X– CLICK ME!!!!

The waterfall marking the hanging valley is visible in the following photograph.   All photographs in this posting are from a Canon EOS-1Ds MarkIII, 24 mm lens (see above for complete name), on a Manfrotto travel tripod.  ISO 500, f5.6 or f6.3.

With a point of view about 50 feet above the water the valley bottom is hidden behind an 800 foot hill and the water fall is just above the hill.  See it?  …..I didn’t think so.

There is the island with the tree, to the left.  The following image is the same photograph, with the central section enlarged.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The enlargement brings out the play of light, the low clouds, deep in the valley.  To provide scale, know those are full sized pines on the hillside, foreground.  The waterfall is just about visible.  I will enlarge the image one more time.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

There it is!!  I stepped up contrast, as well.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is another version of the original view.  That patch of sky had opened up seconds after the first shot and, as a result, the 3,000 door mountain and waterfalls, on right, are better lit.  Notice the bare rock face on the mountain slope, marking a landslide.

Click this image for a high resolution version, in your browser.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

A different landslide Scar is featured in two previous blogs,

A Far Country V: Landslides!!

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

The Regatta’s course brought us closer for the two following shots.

The lovely sky is still visible…..

Mountain and Waterfalls

….one minute later the clouds gather and relative darkness returns.

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country X: Hanging Valley

amazing resolution with the Canon 24 mm lens

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

The resolution of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM makes this lens a favorite of mine for landscape work.  Let me show you why.

The valley today’s posting lies behind the tree.  It is a broad valley shaped by ancient glaciers.

Here is the Google Earth view, from an elevation of 9,400 feet, with the ship position marked.  Northwest is a pushpin titled, “Hanging Valley and Waterfall.”

A Far Country X– CLICK ME!!!!

The waterfall marking the hanging valley is visible in the following photograph.   All photographs in this posting are from a Canon EOS-1Ds MarkIII, 24 mm lens (see above for complete name), on a Manfrotto travel tripod.  ISO 500, f5.6 or f6.3.

With a point of view about 50 feet above the water the valley bottom is hidden behind an 800 foot hill and the water fall is just above the hill.  See it?  …..I didn’t think so.

There is the island with the tree, to the left.  The following image is the same photograph, with the central section enlarged.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The enlargement brings out the play of light, the low clouds, deep in the valley.  To provide scale, know those are full sized pines on the hillside, foreground.  The waterfall is just about visible.  I will enlarge the image one more time.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

There it is!!  I stepped up contrast, as well.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is another version of the original view.  That patch of sky had opened up seconds after the first shot and, as a result, the 3,000 door mountain and waterfalls, on right, are better lit.  Notice the bare rock face on the mountain slope, marking a landslide.

Click this image for a high resolution version, in your browser.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The Regatta’s course brought us closer for the two following shots.

The lovely sky is still visible…..

Mountain and Waterfalls

….one minute later the clouds gather and relative darkness returns.

Fjord and Valley

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country IX: Bonsai Shape

Compelling Plant Shapes

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Here is a Google Earth view of Tempanos Fjord from 9,400 feet, looking north, northwest over a point on the fjord 6.5 miles from Iceberg Glacier, at 4 pm local time on February 17, 2016.  This view is interesting for the insignificant island, .75 mile long, and broad mountain valley to the north fringed with waterfalls.

Marked is the location of a tree, “bonsai”, a feature of the fjord cliffs, “Landslide Scar” and a neighboring Fjord, “Farquhar Fjord.”

This blog features the tree.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The Farquhar Fjord entrance opens onto the entrance of Tempanos Fjord and is the last photograph.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

A photograph from our port side stateroom deck includes both the island and broad valley.  The misshapen tree, the “bonsai”, is on an islet to the right and in front of the island.  It is the small stump backlit by water reflection.  The stump is more interesting than can be seen in this image from a handheld camera, at 24 mm.  I used the variable lens for a closer look.

24 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

From this 133 mm, f8.0, 1/250 sec and ISO 800, still handheld, interesting details come into view.  The islet is a rock on which clings a bed of moss.  Several ferns, a sapling (on the far side) and a stump, on the right, are surviving.  The stump presumably supported a small tree of which a “bonsai-like” twig remains.

Bonsai are fascinating, created through the art and skill of emulating pleasing natural forms.  Here the moss encrusted twists and miniature tree crown were formed from a difficult environment.  Bonsai of Japan originated from an ancient Chinese tradition of penjing (“tray plant”).  The inspiration for this are, at origin and now, must be, in part, from admiration of the tenacity and beauty of these plants.

133 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

At the 200 mm maximum my Sony Alpha 770 (1/400, f9, ISO 800) image is a little fuzzy, still with great details.

From my interest in bonsai I am on the lookout for shapes such as this. Travelling the challenging environment of the Chilean Fjords I found examples here and there.

200 mm bonsai view – CLICK ME!!!!

 

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country VII: View of Tempanos Fjord

A mountain and waterfall ringed bowl.

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4:00 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 5 miles from the Iceberg Glacier, moving forward at a slow rate of speed, 4.6 knots.  Here are more views of the mountain-ringed bowl behind a 1,000 foot cliff.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

Both photographs are handheld using my Sony Alpha700, ISO 800, variable lens set to 45mm, 1/250 f13.  At the same time I shot from a tripod mounted Cannon, 24 mm wide angle fixed focus lens.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 12,200 feet.  Regatta’s position is the “5 miles from Iceberg Glacier” pushpin.  The formation is almost due north.  We were surprised to see a ranger station in this uninhabited area, not yet in view.  The white line, lower right, is the border between the Aisen (north) and Magellanic (south) Chilean regions.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

Fjord View

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By 3:20 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 1.75 miles from the Iceberg Glacier and the captain positioned the ship for a starboard side glacier view.  From our port side stateroom terrace Pam and I had this sweeping view of the way we had come.

Tempanos Fjord is a mile across here and we have a clear view of the landslide scar feature in my last blog.  It is 7.75 miles distant, a small white patch on the fjord wall.  The landscape scar marks where the fjord bends, changing north, northeast course to an east, southeast direction.  Before the bend, the Iceberg glacier is not visible.  Turn the bend and the glacier is plainly visible in the distance if the viewer is looking over the ship bow.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 14,000 feet.  Marked are the locations of the landslide scar and the ship position were I first photographed the scar on our way into Tempanos Fjord.  The red lined ship’s course may be followed out of the fjord back to the Messier Channel.  The fjord follows a course among mountain peaks and deep valleys.   A great pleasure of sailing Tempanos Fjord is the many vistas opening one to another.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

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Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved