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GoPro HD Waterproof Camera
Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter. -Ansel Adams

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Farewell my faithful friend- Kodachrome (1937-2010)

I ask myself how would I use the last roll of Kodachrome? Renowned photographer Steve McCurry (below) clearly had something in mind last August when Kodak announced that it would no longer produce the slide film, the world's first successful and finest color film.

McCurry contacted his friends at Kodak and asked for the last roll, and spent the next nine months planning how he was going to use the last 36 frames. In June, he left on a six-week trip to capture the images, followed by a TV crew from the National Geographic Channel, which will be made into an hour-long documentary.

“I thought, what better way to kind of honor the memory of the film than to try and photograph iconic places and people? It's in (my) DNA to want to tell stories where the action is, that shed light on the human condition” said McCurry.

In the United States, McCurry shot the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal and Robert de Niro, who represents the filmmaking industry. Paul Simon, despite the song he wrote about the film, declined to participate.

McCurry then went to western India where he captured Bollywood stars and the Ribari tribespeople in Rajasthan, which is said to be disappearing (like the film).

McCurry’s last shot was in Parsons, Kansas, the home of Dwayne's Photo, the last photo lab in the world that processes the elaborately crafted color-reversal film. Dwayne's will close that part of its business on December 30,2010.

He also included himself in one self-portrait, he posed next to a Kodak-yellow taxicab bearing the license plate PKR 36 -- the code name for Professional Kodachrome film.

Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away!

The slides will go, appropriately, to the George Eastman House in Rochester.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Associated Press

Monday, December 20, 2010

You can also view my Portfolio Here

View my gallery

As a Member of NAPP I was able to post a portfolio on their site. You can always use free PR!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Canon 800mm f5.6

I've had the pleasure to test the Canon 800mm f5.6 lens (MSRP $16,000.) and have really put it to work. I have been doing some Birds in Flight but with the Canon 5D it is very difficult at 2.5 fps. Now I want the 1DsMIV which shoots 10fps. The lens is really sharp with great color accuracy, no distortion.

I give it the thumbs up! It has made the SCW preferred list of equipment.

Eagles Are Becoming Regular Sites At The Wetlands

The American Bald Eagle is the symbol of America. Once endangered, they have made an incredible recovery and are abundant on the Space Coast. This year they have been very active at the Viera Wetlands. I was out shooting with my friend Arnold Dubin when this Eagle decided to treat us with some striking poses with superb lighting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crested Caracara Starting Active Mode

A common subject of folklore and legends throughout Central and South America, the Crested Caracara is sometimes referred to as the "Mexican eagle."

Their food source includes insects; small and occasionally large vertebrates, including fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals; eggs; and carrion of all types. This Caracara was waiting for fresh eggs being delivered by this Chicken Turtle. I checked the nest last evening and it had been robbed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

And You Thought You Were Having A Bad Day

One Day you are the king frog and the next you are the meal. This Great Blue Heron was displaying it's catch in cell 1 at the Viera Wetlands. It was an adventure this evening as I am trying out the Canon 800mm f5.6 lens ($12,000.). I was able to capture a few unique images that would not be the same with my 300mm f4 ($1600.). 

This Otter was kicking back after a tough day of scouting and hunting. They have a real personality once they trust you. River otters forage alone or in pairs. They are active during the day and at night, hunting in streams, rivers and ponds for fish, crayfish and turtles. Otters have a high metabolic rate, an adaptation for living in an aquatic environment where body heat is rapidly lost. They need to eat 15% of their body weight a day.

 I also found this Pie-Billed Grebe trying out the Fu Manchu Frogstache. I have to admit I was traveling alone laughing my head off. If the men in the white suits would have seen me they would have taken me away, HA HA.

Last but not least, the Sora.  Although Soras are more often heard than seen, they are sometimes seen walking near open water. They are fairly common, despite a decrease in suitable habitat in recent times. The call is a slow whistled ker-whee, or a descending whinny.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Blue Winged Teal

The Winter Waterfowl Migration has started with the Blue Winged Teal. Other than that it seems to be a little slow with migration this year. We are blessed to have a lifer for me, the Great Comarant which seems to be enjoying its visit.The bird to the right below is the Great and the one on the left is a immature Double Crested.

You may notice that the main ID is the beak color on the Great is grey and the Double Crested is Orange.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rare Snail Kite Sighting In Viera Wetlands

Another day and the Snail Kite remains in the Viera wetlands. With the abundance of Apple Snails we may just have a happy camper or resident some may say. The food supply is a major effect on the Snail Kite which relys on water supply in the south Florida wetlands to produce the Apple Snail habitat. As habitat goes away so do the Snail Kites. Once known as the Everglades Kite the Snail Kite has had to search out new food supplies further north in Florida. To my knowledge we may have the most northern sighting as of now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Viera Wetlands Adventures

It has been a busy Saturday at the Viera Wetlands. We hosted Seminole and Martin County Audubon groups for field trips. We had an abundant amount of wildlife for them.

We also had the pleasure to have Don Jones an accomplished Montana based Wildlife Photographer specializing in all forms of nature from the Artic to the Deserts from the Swamps to the Mountains and everywhere in between. Don’s images are created from his overwhelming passion for being outdoors with cameras in tow. What began as a young boy with binoculars swaying from his neck and with bird book wedged in his back pocket in suburban Chicago has now transformed into a living dream. Some of Don's clients include Audubon, Field and Stream,Ranger Rick, Birder's World and Outdoor Life.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Masked Duck for the day!
Author: Mike Freiberg

Okay, so today was pretty much a stellar day. My field trip loaded up with 16 passengers to Viera Wetlands at 6 AM and of course we would be trying our butts off for the adult male Masked Duck that has staked his claim on one particular pool. The wetlands were booming with birds including Anhingas, Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers,etc. We birded the entrance for a while to get everyone adapted to the environment but wasted no time in making our way to, THE SPOT!" This Masked Duck has been seeing battling for marsh postion with some Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots for a while and it was our time to catch it in action.

We jumped out of the van and all of us proceeded to scan the water for the unusual visitor. I jumped on my Nikon 65mm EDG Fieldscope panning the field. Knowing that Masked Ducks are reclusive creatures with a prehistoric feel, I decided to look intently at the thicker marsh vegetation hoping for some of the deep maroon color the body of the bird holds, to show up. Nothing! I needed a little break from the deep stare into the marshy abyss, so I started scanning through the Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots to see what other waterfowl might be there. There was a bird that was quite different in terms of stature holding it's body closer to the water, however, the bird was facing away from me so I had to wait to get a different angle. The bird turned, only for me to see a spatulate-type bill. My EDG Fieldscope began delivering some excellent true colors enough to see the bill was blue and the body was deep red. BAAAAAM!

There he was! The bird in question low in the water for all to see. I was baffled to see this bird in the open. It's habits have always reminded me of the Sungrebe from south of the border, but this guy was showing off a bit. He chased Ring-necked Ducks away and in turn was chased by American Coots. The black mask was so obvious it didn't take long to ID this dude. Somewhat related to the Ruddy Duck this diver is in a monotypic genus meaning it is the only one of its kind. I learned in November that this bird does not paddle it's feet when attempting to take off but rather flies straight into the air. I got a chance to see and confirm this neat attribute. He dives down deep to get to his primary food source which is seeds and roots of aquatic plants. I have only seen this species once before in Texas, but this was the first breeding male I had seen. Truely a beautiful and exciting bird. He was a life bird for nearly everyone in the group and as a leader, I certainly felt proud of that. Our group was super active with asking questions and spotting birds. Nothing makes a leader more happy than a group that wants to learn. At one point later in the day one of our female participants spotted an American Bittern in it's freeze-stance which takes diligance and patience. I of course had to reward her with a job well done and a hefty high-five. That's what I'm talking about!!!!!

Masked Ducks breed from Mexico all the way to Brazil and in the western Caribbean. It would be nice if this one could have a mate, but he may be waiting a while. Waterfowl was the family of the day which included the next bird in the photos:

Two strapping Mottled Ducks. Notice the clean face, dark eye-line and darker chevrons on the body. The orange-yellow bills are a dead give away. These birds will sometimes hybridize with Mallards, but usually will have a darker face and a black patch on the bill indicating a female Mallard.

Overall, we had 66 species on the day and was really successful. I love my job and feel blessed to be able to experience Mother Nature's handy work.

So the Space Coast Birding & Nature Festival has officially taken flight much like this Mottled Duck. Thanks for reading and I hope you visit back. Cheers and Good Birding from your Nikon Birding ProStaff!

Mike Freiberg grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his family introduced him to the world of bird watching. Over time the hobby grew into a career. He attended Iowa State University, earning a B.S. in Animal Ecology. Mike's summers during college were spent as a biological technician, monitoring breeding birds for Point Reyes Bird Observatory in Eastern Oregon. He also spent five seasons in Black Hills, South Dakota, working for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. As his passion for birding grew Mike decided to travel throughout Latin America, visiting Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. One of his most memorable birding experiences was the six months he spent in Northeast Brazil performing research on a new species of bird, the Araripe Manakin. Mike is currently the Birding Market Specialist for Nikon Sport Optics. He travels all over the United States teaching bird ID and optics to all who will listen.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Extreme Cold Causes Sea Turtle Deaths

During a severe cold snap in 1989, dozens of hypothermic green sea turtles were rescued and cared for in recovery pools at SeaWorld Orlando for about 10 weeks. Twenty one years later things are worse. Over 100 Sea Turtles have been recovered from Florida's Space Coast and are recovering in tanks spread out all over the state. Some Sea Turtles are not so lucky, these four Greens lost their fight to survive. My observence today was that if it is in the wild it is being comprimised today. Hopefully it will warm a little before we lose much. If you observe any turtles on the beach call the US Fish and Wildlife Service at 800-344-WILD.

Rescued Sea Turtles will spend the winter on Jekyll Island | WSAV

Rescued Sea Turtles will spend the winter on Jekyll Island | WSAV