Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Howl At The Moon Photo Op


Every once in a while, ESizler Photography gets an invitation to shoot some local talent; singers, bands, various other musicians, etc.  Yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to shoot a good friend, who was once employed at "Howl At The Moon" on International Drive here in Orlando.  He's now self employed as a traveling musician, soon to be spending his time on a cruise ship, entertaining the guests, (hard life but someone has to do it).

Regardless, he was in town for a couple of days and sat in a few sets on the stage at "Howl At The Moon".  To say he "rocked the joint" is an understatement!!  Though the place wasn't as busy as usual, all customers were singing and dancing and rocking out to his amazing talent!

There are other musicians there, who play also; sometimes with him, sometimes without him, and they are equally as talented!  The photo opportunity was good for me, in that the lighting was tricky with all the strobes and mirror balls.  I love when I can learn on the fly and still capture the moments!

Thank you Will O'Keefe for the invite and hospitality!  Hopefully I will see you on the cruise ship in the future!!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive


As much as I can, I travel the 16 miles to one of my favorite nature photography spots in Florida, the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.  Set up much like the Viera Wetlands, this 11 mile drive never seems to disappoint.  Now there is one drawback to LAWD; it's only open on weekends, (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).  Since I am pretty much a weekend shooter, as of late, I find myself there at least one day per weekend, unless I have photography shoots elsewhere.

I was there again this past weekend and it was pretty uneventful.  I usually idle through the LAWD at 3 mph, watching mostly out the driver's side window.  I will occasionally take shots out the passenger side window, but it's problematic to find a spot to rest the camera to avoid shake.  Note: Many times, due to the lighting conditions, I can't set the speed high enough to compensate without making the shot way too dark. Therefore, I shoot mostly out of the driver's window.
If time allows I usually take two trips around.  Usually one time is better, by far, than the other!

This weekend, many of the usual birds were there; Anhingas, Herons, Moorhens, Egrets, etc.  These birds, no matter how many photographs you've taken of them, seem to beg for "just one more."  Most other people stop their cars when they see any bird.  Most have little or no regard for any other person.  At times there are three, four, even five cars waiting behind someone taking a picture of a Great Blue Heron!  I've found that alligators draw the most attention however.  I've seen people, (I'm assuming tourists), getting out of their cars to get closer to an alligator, (6 feet long or better), who is half in the water and half out.

Twice I've seen the alligator charge them, sending them scurrying back to their cars, (once one man jumped through the back window of his car)!!
The alligator did attempt to get him, but luckily he was just fast enough to avoid a terrible situation.

Roadblocks do happen for good reasons also.  There are times when someone spots something and pulls over to take photographs and then the next person does the same, etc, etc.  Late Friday afternoon, at around 3pm, approximately 25 - 30 Swallow-tailed Kites descended on LAWD causing a huge backup.  No one seemed to mind.  They dipped and they dived to the delight of all the photographers there.  See photograph...


Monday, March 27, 2017

It's been a busy week!

Saturday I took a trip to Felts Preserve in the Tampa, Florida area.  It was built and is funded by the Audubon Society.  It's a small tract of land with two different paths winding through the oak trees, ferns and shrubs.  At the end of each of the paths is a small pond/lake which I was told has numerous Wood Ducks and other water birds.  The bad news is I never got to the ponds to see them!

As you meander down one of the paths, you come to a small green house.  The sign says, "Bird Viewing Area".  There are two benches in the room adjacent to the two large bay windows.  Outside of the windows are six different bird feeders, each with a different type of seed.  They are numbered #1 through #6 from left to right.

I got there just before sunrise and sat down and waited.  There are screens on either side of the house and you could easily hear the sounds of the birds outside.  As light appeared it became louder and the shrubs slowly came alive with activity.  I first saw a flash of blue, as a bird shot by the window into the nearby shrub.  It shook upon it's arrival.  As if by queue, suddenly they appeared; Indigo Buntings.  Not one or two but I lost count at thirty!!!  After approximately five minutes of feeding, they were gone.  The area was quiet.

This happened numerous times in the five hours I sat there.  I took over 500 photographs of Indigo Buntings, Painted Buntings, Northern Cardinals, Gray Catbirds, etc.  It was an awesome day!!

Needless to say, I'm going back soon. The two hour drive only feeds my want for more!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Note:  The book is at the publishers and they are working on the final draft, (which I have to approve).  It should be printed and in my hands by next Monday.  Stay tuned...

Today I went to the Viera Wetlands.  It's an amazing place for nature photography.  Any bird or animal that lives near or uses water in some capacity in their lives can be see there.  I am never disappointed and have always come away with some awesome nature shots.  Today was no different.

The traffic there was heavy.  Clearly someone on some birding or photography blog mentioned that the Sandhill Cranes are nesting at the Viera Wetlands, because there were about forty or so photographers, (people with cameras) there, all in one area, blocking the road and talking REALLY loud!  The birds were at least forty yards away, nestled down in the cattails, barely showing anything, save a peek or two when they changed positions.  There were clearly no babies yet, perhaps there were eggs, but you couldn't tell from the road.  Regardless, the bottleneck was real and it took more time to get through it than it did to get around the rest of the wetlands.  You can see by the picture, even the birds were annoyed!

The star of the day was the Glossy Ibis.  They were everywhere; preening, flying, searching for food, etc..

Many alligators were present also.

All in all it was a great photography day.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hello Faithful Followers!

Today is a great day!  Why you ask?  Well, I will tell you...

Today I talked to the book publisher and finalized all the necessary details to print and publish my 1st book!  I will again be in touch with them tomorrow to discuss layout and design, but it's pretty much done, (I did it myself), so unless they see something that is grossly out of the ordinary, I will have numerous copies of my book on or about March 15, 2017!!

The book is titled, "Florida Backyard Birds" and is targeting the novice bird watcher.  It's small, (45 pages), but it's full of photographs and detailed information about numerous species of backyard Florida birds.  This book will be the first in a series of birding books that I'm going to write.  The second one will be Florida Wading Birds, but it's only in the thinking stages at this point in time.

I will be contacting various libraries in Florida to see if they would like to purchase some copies for their shelves, but first it will go to friends and family and whomever else would like it.

A big "THANK YOU" to my loyal followers and those that pushed me to get it published.  You're the best!

Here's a sneak peek at the cover, (albeit a poor quality photograph).

More information to follow...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hello All...

Yesterday and today were great photography days!  I went to the Apopka Wildlife Drive, (yesterday late afternoon and today early afternoon), and had an amazing photography day!!

The beginning of the drive is quite uneventful.  The dirt road was very dry, causing dust to come up from every car and with the wind blowing about 10-15 mph, it was quite the dusty adventure.

I took numerous photographs along the way.  There were many different herons; Green, Great Blue and Snowy, along with many American Coots and Common Moorhens.  Those pictures don't excite me as much as they used to, but I still cannot pass up a posing subject.

My favorite find of the two days was a Least Bittern.  This bird is normally found deep in the cattails with it's neck stretched to the sky, faux swaying to simulate wind.  It's rare to find one walking about searching for morsels of food, albeit fish or mussels or bugs.

All in all it was an awesome photography day, capped off by an Anhinga with a freshly caught fish, (I think some sort of catfish).

I did see a large male Otter, but it retreated back into the brush before I could take it's picture.  Perhaps next time....

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hello faithful and not quite abandoned followers!

It's been quite a while since I've both had the time and material for a blog entry.  I apologize to the faithful and also to the not-so-faithful followers.  I will try to do better in the future!

A lot has happened to me since my last entry.  I was gifted an amazing new camera, (a Canon 7D Mark II) and I purchased a 70-200mm 2.8 lens!  My photography, as you can imagine, took a giant leap upwards in both quality and quantity!!  The images are cleaner and due to the amazing amount of light I can now capture, my eye seems to have gotten better also!  Now there is still a lot of improvement that I need to make, (the camera is so technical that it'll take me six months to learn all it can do, and even longer to somewhat master the settings for any particular shot.

Anyway, here's one from the other night.  Now understand that it's not a great subject matter, (two dogs playing), but it does show some of the abilities of the camera in catching action and capturing it in a crystal clear fashion!

I have also gone out and attached my 2x converter to it, making the lens a 400mm at 4.0 aperture.  What a beast!  I'm very impressed at it's ability to focus fast and silently!  Here's one example of a House Finch taken at about 25 feet.

There will be more coming.  Please stay tuned...